For Marcell Dareus it's simple, really. The Buffalo Bills top pick in the 2011 NFL Draft believes the way to get the franchise back to their winning ways is to just enjoy themselves on the football field.
With the Bills being marred by a six-season streak of losing records and missing the playoffs 11 straight seasons, the fun has been hard to come by. But Dareus is out to change all of that.
"My main expectation is for us to go out there really compete and have fun," said the enthusiastic Dareus. "It seems like the Bills are not having fun out there in the past -- we had a couple of tough years -- and it's so much focus on 'Alright, go out there and win, go out there and win.' And it's no fun, no focus and no passion about the game. So hopefully we can go out there and really put some passion in to the game, and have some fun and wins will start coming."
But even with the focal point to have more fun on the field, the Bills first round pick knows putting the work in on the field at training camp is all part of the process to get the team where they need to be. It's his first training camp, and Dareus remarked that it's been a learning process for him.
"I learned a lot from Kyle Williams, Spencer [Johnson], Dwan Edwards," the rookie said. "I'm really just learning formations and a lot of things upon a lot of things. It's just so much I'm learning from them, still learning from them. The way to go about practice and how to have the mindset going out. It's just things that I learn within football just being with those guys."
Dareus added the thing he's been improving on the most during training camp has been with his ability to read offenses. He's picking that up from his fellow defensive starters and coaches. But one thing he's excited to do is go out there and team up with the lone Bills representative at the Pro Bowl last year: Kyle Williams.
We've all seen the tape of what Williams can do, and even Dareus has seen a little. But the big defensive end isn't thinking about the past.
"I watched one game [of Williams], but I'm really not even worried about that," asserted the Bills top pick. "I'm really more worried about what me and Kyle can do together, and what we can do as a team together to go out there and make it happen."
After weighing in at 320 pounds at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, some fans expressed concern about Dareus checking in to training camp at St. John Fisher College up at 343 pounds. But the Alabama product did it for a reason, just in case the Bills wanted him to be the big man in the middle.
"We had off-season, and the lockout was going on, I had a fear that I was going to play nose guard," Dareus said. "So I talked to a couple of the players, we couldn't talk to the coaches, so people would be telling me 'Marcell, you'll be the nose guard.' Me coming from college, I didn't want to get pushed around so my thing was work out a little bit more, eat a little bit more, get a little bigger and then so that happened."
Now that he has his role defined, Dareus spends some time every day trimming down and getting himself ready for the season.
Based on his opening performance Saturday against the Bears, the expectations from fans and media alike are sky high for the third overall pick. So what are the personal expectations for Dareus this season? He quickly bounced it back to his original outlook for what he wanted this season: just have fun.
"I'm going to do my best. Any awards or anything I get outside of that is really just piling on to it," he said. "But other than that I'm just going to go out there, have fun, do my best, and not just get so draining: 'Ok, this is just a business, just a business.' I want to have fun out there and really go out there and enjoy my friends and enjoy the company that's out there."
Dareus and the Bills wrap up training camp on Thursday, August 18 and then fly out to take on the Broncos in Denver on Saturday night.