It wasn’t too long ago the Buffalo Bills had a player who used to refer to his playing style as “beast mode.” Now they have a player who will be a beast to handle this season.
This morning Joe Buscaglia and I spent time talking about the one Bills player who has us most excited about the upcoming season. The answer for most of you is probably Mario Williams but it would have been a boring discussion if everyone agreed so who else would you nominate?
Allow me to present Marcell Dareus. I’m salivating at the idea of Dareus operating in the middle of that defensive line, next to Kyle Williams and flanked by Mario Williams and Chris Kelsay/Mark Anderson.
I think Dareus will be eating up opposing offensive linemen and quarterbacks and spitting them out during the 2012 campaign.
He’s big. He’s strong. He’s fast. He’s even dropping weight to cover more ground on the field. Listed at 340 pounds, Dareus was down to 331 at the start of the Organized Team Activities in the spring and said he plans to be at 325 for the start of training camp.
He will be part of a much more talented and deeper defensive line and the switch to the 4-3 scheme under new Defensive Coordinator Dave Wannstedt should give him more freedom to make plays.
He made enough plays on a bad defense last season to make you smile when thinking about his future. Dareus made the NFL’s All Rookie team after recording 43 tackles from a defensive tackle position where much of his job was based on occupying blockers.
On one of the worst pass rushing teams in the NFL, Dareus did his part by managing a team best 5 ½ sacks. He also recorded 4 tackles for loss which was second best on the Bills behind Nick Barnett.
In addition to the points I stated earlier, Dareus obviously has a year of NFL experience under his belt and certainly learned some valuable lessons over his rookie season.
He’ll also get the benefit of a full off season of work(OTA’s and Minicamp) something last year’s rookies did not get due to the lockout.
I remember the night the Bills drafted Dareus and as he walked on stage to meet the Commissioner, all I could think was “this guy is HUGE and he’s going to play for the Bills!!”
Edge rushers get much of the glory and the eye popping contracts(just ask Mario Williams) but when you have a guy like Dareus(and Kyle Williams for that matter) who can be a disruptive force in the middle of the defense, it makes a world of difference.
When single blocked, I envision Dareus just swatting that blocker aside as he collapses the pocket and takes dead aim at the quarterback. Or knifing through the heart of the offensive line to make a tackle for loss. Or just holding his ground and swallowing up running backs.
In a season where there will be high expectations for what was a beleaguered Bills defense in 2011, look for Dareus to have a breakout year and be a devastating presence inside.
WGR 550 will provide daily coverage of Bills training camp which begins on July 26th.