ORCHARD PARK, NY – With starting DE Shaq Lawson sitting out the Bills first preseason game with a groin injury, Buffalo’s next man up, Eddie Yarbrough earned a chance to shine. He didn’t disappoint.
The second-year man out of FCS program Wyoming made three tackles on the night, including one sack on Vikings starting quarterback Sam Bradford, and two total QB hits. It was an effort that more validated his rise up the depth chart during the first two weeks of training camp.
“It was a great feeling, but I definitely need to thank Marcell [Dareus] and those guys,” Yarbrough said afterward. “They definitely give me some confidence and I’m just excited for the opportunity.”
Yarbrough took full advantage of his opportunity, supplanting himself in Minnesota’s backfield throughout the first half of play. On the Vikings second play from scrimmage, he and veteran linebacker Ramon Humber teamed up to make a tackle on rookie running back Dalvin Cook. But his most memorable play of the night – his lone sack – came later on in the drive. With the Vikings facing 3rd-and-7 from their own 40-yardline, Yarbrough left right tackle Mike Remmers in the dust and pounced on Bradford to force a punt.
Later when the rest of the first team was relieved of their duties after just two series, Yarbrough stayed out there with the second unit for the remainder of the first half and continued to wreak havoc.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott wasn’t surprised by the 24-year-old’s performance on Thursday night
“[Eddie is] a young player who has worked extremely hard,” he explained. “This wasn’t the first time he has flashed. He earns it, he really does. He’s one of the first ones in every team meeting every morning. He’s got flash cards, he’s drilling himself mentally, so his success on the field tonight was not a surprise to those that know him and I’m really happy for him.”
Earlier in the week, Yarbrough explained that his individual numbers weren’t his focus coming into the Bills first preseason game, simply stressing the importance of his approach and continuing to make a name for himself. The former certainly helped bolster the latter on Thursday night.
“Definitely headed in the right direction,” Yarbrough said reflectively. “You know, I got Kyle [Williams] saying ‘it’s never a destination, it’s a journey.’ So You’ve just got to keep stacking good days on good days to get to where you want to go.”
For Yarbrough that journey is just beginning. Even with his confidence at an all-time high from this recent surge, he isn’t resting on his laurels.
“It’s high-until I watch the video,” Yarbrough said of his confidence level. “I have an uncle that says ‘You never do as well as you thought you did, you never do as bad as you think you did.’ So I am definitely excited to see the tape.”
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