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Sunday, September 29, 2013
Alonso making early case for Def. ROY

By Mike Rodak

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- It's just a quarter of the way into the regular season, but Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso already has made a strong case to be the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Through Sunday's early games, Alonso leads the NFL with four interceptions, adding two in the Bills' 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Alonso, a second-round pick, played in every snap in the first three games. In addition to his NFL-high interceptions, the Oregon product has a sack, a forced fumble and plenty of more opportunities this season add to his rookie resume.

From the beginning of training camp, Alonso has stepped into defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's scheme and manned the "Mike" linebacker position, one that requires a high level of communication and recognition ability.

It was a tall task and a gamble by the Bills, but one that has paid off. Four games in, Doug Marrone took a chance to say he told you so about the rookie's abilities.

"Early on in camp everyone said, 'Is he your starting middle linebacker?' and I said, 'Yeah," head coach Doug Marrone said after Sunday's win. "And they said, 'Well is he a three-down linebacker?' and for us, early on, we felt that way."