Spikes wants fresh start in Buffalo

The newest member of the Buffalo Bills, linebacker Brandon Spikes, held an introductory conference call with reporters Monday.

Here are a few highlights from Spikes' comments:

Impact of Pepper Johnson: Asked why he chose the Bills, Spikes didn't waste time mentioning the presence of his former coach in New England -- current Bills defensive line coach Pepper Johnson. Right off the bat, Spikes cited the chance to reunite with Johnson as a reason he picked the Bills. "He's a great coach and a great inspiration to the game. He loves the game and he is definitely what I want to be down the road," Spikes said. "He's a legendary ballplayer and coach. He just knows the game. I respect him as a man and as a coach."

One-year deal is motivation: Spikes' contract is unique among the free agents that the Bills have inked this past week. He's only signed for one year, which creates a "prove-it" situation where he can potentially earn more on the market next offseason with a strong performance this season. "My whole life I've had something to prove so it just helps put some fuel on the fire," Spikes said of his deal. "It keeps that burning sensation I have inside of me for the game and, like I said, whatever, if they say I have something to prove, I just have to go out there and do it."

Closing book on New England: Spikes didn't have much to say about his final days with the New England Patriots, which included him being placed on injured reserve in January, partially because he was late to practice. Spikes said he wanted to "close that chapter" and that it "feels great to have a new beginning." Later in the call, Spikes admitted that there will be a different feeling when he plays against the Patriots twice this season. "It's going to be emotional for me. Right now I've had dreams about it already. It's going to be an emotional game; I'm probably going to be in tears the entire game," he said. "I know it's going to be a battle; it's definitely going to be a battle, at all times. I'm looking forward to that and I'll probably dream about it every night until it comes this fall."

Spikes deflects criticism on coverage: The greatest limitation of Spikes' game may he his abilities in pass protection. Spikes played in some sub packages earlier in his career with the Patriots but was largely phased out of that unit by last season. Spikes said he "delivered" when called upon in coverage and noted that he had a strong performance on third downs in Super Bowl XLVI two seasons ago. "That whole entire [2011] season when I was given the opportunity and play on third down, I delivered," he said. As for his role in that phase being diminished, Spikes said: "I was in all of them on third down. I don't know what happened, but I guess I just couldn't cover out there for a few years. I don't know, that's what they said."