BY DAN BEGNOCHE
said Tuesday that he "just wants to win." Before that can happen, the defense needs some consistency.
Buffalo's defensive front showed signs of promise last season, though it was overshadowed by bouts of dreadful run defense. (photo: Matt Britt, Flickr)
As the team continues to count on Williams to provide the strong leadership and stability that he has the past seven years, another lineman they're hoping can continue to step up is third-year tackle Marcell Dareus.
Dareus's stat lines the past two years are near matches since being picked third overall in 2011. And though his big-play weeks have seemed to come in waves, Williams told the media Tuesday that the former first-round pick isn't the only one on defense with that problem.
"I think for him it's consistency, just being more consistent in his play. I think that can be said for everybody," Williams said. "There's times where we played well, individually or as a team, and then there was times where there was let-downs.
"Hopefully for him he can play at a very high level and he can just stay there, and hopefully everyone else as a team can get there and just stay there, rather than the ups and downs of sometimes how a season can go."
In his two years with Buffalo, Dareus has tallied 82 combined tackles and 11 sacks. And while Williams has been at or near the top of the league among DTs the past few years, Dareus hasn't been far behind. Pro Football Focus ranked the Alabama product 12th in 2011 and 11th in 2012, as he has shined in particular against the run. He also ranked in the top 5 in sacks both seasons and was second last year in batted passes.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will no doubt lean on Dareus and Williams to lead the crew in his transition, with both likely to move all over the line in order to create mismatches for the quicker pass rushers.
"I’ve been here, really getting after it as a defense. We’re just coming together, and everything’s just looking so good," Dareus said, via Chris Brown of buffalobills.com. "Just getting out here, we look alright. I really wait until we put it all together and I see what we can do."
Dareus returned to OTAs Tuesday after dealing with some personal issues, while Williams is rehabbing from his second bone spur surgery. The veteran told reporters that he's expecting to be ready to go come training camp.