BY DAN BEGNOCHE
Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams may be having a hard time explaining how or why his squad has played so poorly as a whole, but he can certainly point out what he needs to improve on.
Williams noted his hands as the main culprit of his troubles when speaking with reporters Wednesday. It's an issue he has been dealing with throughout the season as he struggles through a nagging wrist injury.
A self-proclaimed “hands person,” Williams said a lot of the power from his pass rush comes from his hands, and the injury hasn't made the task, or the team's success getting to the quarterback, any easier.
“I need to get my hands, in general, healthy because I am a hands person," he said. "I am a power person and I think the biggest thing for me is being able to adapt and being able to use my abilities of what I do best in these times that we are going through right now. I think the biggest thing is what I am doing physically has been different. I have to find a way to make that happen. ”
Despite the excitement coming into the season for the Bills on the defensive side of the ball, Williams' performance thus far has been anything but. He's managed only 1.5 sacks in his five starts, with much of the blame going to double- and triple-team coverage on passing plays. That, compounded with the wrist injury and the recent loss of Mark Anderson, puts Buffalo's pass rush in a tumultuous position heading into Arizona this weekend.
“It is going to be a huge challenge,” Williams said of the loss of Anderson. “Mark is a great player. Having him, his intensity, and his demeanor out on the field is definitely going to be a (challenge) for us. We have to be able to pick it up. Not just us needing to do it for ourselves, but to fill in his place and the injuries we have been faced with. Go out and play better.”
Even with a banged-up defensive front, the Bills may have a chance to turn things around this weekend against the Cardinals. Arizona's offensive line has given up more sacks than any team this year to date (23), and has allowed its quarterbacks to be hit 32 percent of the time they drop back to pass.
Through all the struggles, Williams remains “extremely confident” the team can turn things around. He told reporters he did not see the past two weeks as an indication of the level of play Buffalo is capable of, and that the defense as a whole needs to execute and avoid giving up the big play.
“I think the last few weeks the big thing for us is we are giving up huge plays," he said. "You cannot be a good defense if you do that. It all comes down to us players whether it is covering somebody, rushing the passer, tackling the running back or filling our gap -- it all comes down to us.”
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