Sophomore Spotlight: Ron Brooks

Best Performance

Week 13 vs. Jacksonville

Brooks received his first career start on December 2nd, with Leodis McKelvin was ruled out for the game with a back injury. Against the Jaguars, Brooks played like a starter making 10 tackles, nine of which were unassisted. He also had three pass defenses for the game.

Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News wrote a piece on Brooks’ first start. To his credit, Brooks was humble about his performance:

“I played ok. I feel like I could always get better,” he said.

Worst Performance

Week 13 vs. Jacksonville

That’s right, I’m using the same game. Against the Jaguars, Brooks had his best performance of the season in terms of tackles and passes defensed, but not everything went well against Jacksonville. During the game, Brooks was called for three penalties: pass interference, illegal contact and unnecessary roughness.

The pass interference play cost Buffalo 24 yards on an attempted pass to Cecil Shorts. On the next play, Shorts made a 24-yard catch in Brooks’ coverage. Three plays later, the Jaguars scored a touchdown.

Brooks will need to work on playing more disciplined in 2013.


Advanced Stats (Analytics)

All ratings/advanced statistics per Pro Football Focus premium statistics (subscription required)

Ron Brooks received an overall rating of -4.0 based upon his limited play in 2012. This was 173rd among cornerbacks in the league receiving any snaps. Brooks only played 162 snaps.

Pass Rush

Brooks received a -0.1 grade in the pass rush category. During the season, Brooks only rushed the passer once. This came in Week 13 against the Jaguars. He was unsuccessful in rushing the quarterback.


Brooks’ coverage rating was a solid +1.3. His best coverage rating came against the Jaguars where he received a +1.5 rating. During the Jaguars game, Brooks was thrown against 16 times. Eight passes were completed for 81 yards.

Brooks also received positive ratings in coverage for his games against Colts (+0.2), Rams (+0.2) and Dolphins (+0.1) in Week 16. Brooks was targeted seven total times in those three games. Three of those seven passes were completed for receptions, all by the Rams. Those three receptions went for 44 yards and a touchdown. Brooks added another pass defense against the Rams.

Brooks’ only negative coverage grade came against the Seahawks (-0.7). Brooks was targeted twice. He gave up one reception, a four-yard Zach Miller touchdown. 

Run Defense

Brooks’ lowest rating came in run defense (-2.8). Brooks only had one positive game in run defense; the +0.1 came against the Jaguars.

Brooks’ worst performance in run defense came against the Seahawks in Week 15. Brooks received a -1.9 rating while playing 11 run snaps. He had two missed tackles.

His other negative performance in this category came against the Rams in Week 14. Brooks received a -1.0 for the game. He also missed two tackles in that game.


Penalties were Brooks’ other Achilles heel. Brooks received a -2.4 rating for his limited season. Brooks earned a -2.7 for the Jaguars game with his three penalties. Those were the only penalties called upon Brooks during the 2012 season.

Brooks received positive grades in penalties against the Rams (+0.2) and Seahawks (+0.1).

Miscellaneous (all stats according to PFF):

  • Brooks’ three missed tackles against the run tied fellow rookie cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore played 391 more run snaps than Brooks (428 to 37).
  • Brooks had a 1.7 tackle efficiency rating against the run.
  • Brooks’ pass game tackling efficiency was 11.o. This was the second highest cornerback rating on the Bills behind Stephon Gilmore (43.0).
  • Brooks gave up 1.32 yards per coverage snap. This tied for third-highest on the team with Justin Rogers.
  • Brooks saw 16 snaps in the slot in 2012. He was targeted four times and gave up three receptions for 32 yards.
  • Bills cornerbacks only rushed the passer six times in 2012. Brooks and McKelvin each rushed the passer once, while Rogers had four pass rushes.  McKelvin was one-for-one notching a quarterback hit while Rogers and Brooks were not able to get to the quarterback in their five total attempts.


2013 Stats (Prediction)

Games Played: 16

Games Started: 16 (Starting Nickel Cornerback)

Tackles: 52

Solo Tackles: 47

Passes Defended: 10

Penalties: 5

Interceptions: 3

Brooks was having an outstanding training camp and preseason before sustaining his foot injury. When he returned he played well in limited snaps. With Aaron Williams moving to safety, the slot corner position is going to be an open competition. Brooks will have to compete with Justin Rogers for the spot, but Rogers seemed to regress a bit in 2012.

If Brooks wins the job, he can play an important role in Buffalo’s aggressive defense in 2013. The key to his play will be limiting his penalties. Besides the Jaguars game, Brooks did a great job avoiding penalties while still playing his aggressive style.

Hopefully, when Brooks registers his first regular-season interception with the Bills, his touchdown streak from LSU will continue.


Previous Sophomore Spotlights:

Stephon Gilmore, CB

Cordy Glenn, LT

T.J. Graham, WR

Nigel Bradham, LB

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Tags: Ron Brooks, Sophomore Spotlight

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