PITTSFORD - It was evident before free agency even started that the Buffalo Bills were going to drastically rebuild their secondary.
Starting safeties Aaron Williams and Corey Graham were cut. No. 1 cornerback Stephon Gilmore wasn't franchised, which meant he was a goner as soon as he hit the open market. An influx of talent was needed. More than just that, though, the Bills also needed a new leader f0r the back end of their defense.
In Micah Hyde, they've found a player who fills both roles.
"I think one of the first conversations I had with coach" Sean McDermott, "he mentioned that and I know that’s what I bring to the table," Hyde said Sunday after the Bills wrapped up their fourth practice of training camp at St. John Fisher College. "I try to do the best that I can to get these young guys lined up, give them some knowledge on and off the field, and from there we can become a versatile group."
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Hyde's leadership ability hasn't disappointed.
"His production alone with his leadership should raise the level of the secondary," he said. "That was part of the reason why we signed him."
In particular, Hyde has bonded with first-round draft pick Tre'Davious White, who is starting at cornerback opposite Ronald Darby.
"I’m fortunate to have a lot of great grasp with him," White said. "He’s a guy who played a lot of different positions in Green Bay, so he’s sort of a guy that I can pretty much go to in any aspect of the defense, just from a nickel standpoint or a safety standpoint, knowing where my hip is and just knowing that that guy is going to be able to talk because (he) knows pretty much everything that’s going on on the field."
Hyde's lessons aren't limited to the playing field, either. Although the defense under Frazier has been looked at as less complicated than the one under Rex Ryan last year, it's still new for the 42 defenders in training camp.
"I think every day we’re going to add stuff to it," Hyde said. "I think even when the regular season comes, we’re going to add more stuff to it. So every day, a lot more stuff is thrown on our plate and that’s what the studying and stuff is for. We’re staying in these dorms for a reason, so we can get this studying in.
"I’m trying to sleep at night and I can hear people playing music. Hopefully, they’re up studying and listening to music, so that’s good.