One of the most defining characteristics of Kyle Williams personality is his seemingly innate ability to lead with a type of integrity rarely seen in professional sports. He answers questions carefully but always with the intention of giving an answer as honest as it is thoughtful. But, how many times over the years has he reminded us that actions speak louder than words?
So when Leslie Frazier mentioned during his press conference on Monday that Kyle Williams decided it was time for Tremaine Edmunds to run the weekly defensive meeting Williams led for many years, it was clear there was more significance to the event than simply passing the baton to the next generation of leaders on defense for the Bills.
Williams has always carefully parsed his words and actions. He is the one player throughout numerous coaching changes and middling seasons who you could count on for the absolute truth about the state of the team. So when Kyle tells his defensive coordinator that he believes Tremaine Edmunds will be a fine future leader for the defense, you know this kid must be something special.
Of course, probably like every other Bills fan who saw Frazier’s press conference the first thing I thought of was “Oh my, Kyle’s going to retire”. Before I could let the tears get too far down my face I took a deep breath and realized that to jump to any conclusions about Kyle Williams is foolish.
Williams might play for another couple years for all we know. It’s typical of Kyle to be forward-thinking with respect to helping a young player with a lot on his plate. But what kind of statement is it when Kyle Williams puts his faith and trust in someone to lead the team, his team, into the future? You better believe it was a decision not made in haste and only after enough observation for Williams to be satisfied he was placing his faith in the right person.
What does this say about Tremaine Edmunds?
Obviously the 20 year-old has garnered the respect of teammates and coaches as finds his footing during a volatile rookie season. Leading one of the elite defenses in the NFL is no small task for a guy who didn’t even play middle linebacker in college.
Edmunds is exactly the kind of guy you would think Williams would enjoy mentoring. Like Williams, Tremaine quietly goes about his business. There’s no flash or brass with Edmunds. He relishes every opportunity to learn from his mistakes. You know Kyle has to be smiling while watching Edmunds go from zigging when he should be zagging to barking out orders to his defensive teammates with ever-growing confidence.
One of the most satisfying parts of watching the Bills’ 2018 season is how both quarterbacks – on offense and defense – have seized their opportunity as rookies and literally run with it. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch Tremaine Edmunds continue to grow in his role, hopefully with Kyle Williams around another year or two to watch the young man reach his vast potential.
Editor’s babble: Though the Bills’ W-L record is nothing to celebrate, I’ve rarely enjoyed watching a season as much as I’ve enjoyed this one. You can see the pieces coming together and a bright future ahead for the Bills. If you can stand my drippy optimism you can also find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO. Have a great day.