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Headaches for opposing offenses?

Posted Jul 21, 2011

There were times in 2010 that Kyle Williams made himself a big problem for opposing offenses. So much so that he garnered enough Pro Bowl votes to be a first alternate for the AFC and ultimately went to play in the 2011 NFL all-star game in Honolulu. Still offensive coordinators know how to scheme disruptive opponents and neutralize them. That task for Buffalo’s opponents became a whole lot tougher however, with the Bills adding top pick Marcell Dareus to the defensive front.

With Dareus widely forecast to line up at left defensive end, next to Williams at the nose on Buffalo’s defensive line and dependable veteran Dwan Edwards at right end, the Bills front three is not just improved. For opposing offensive lines that trio could be problematic.

The Dareus-Williams combination in particular with their penetrating styles could present a true ‘pick your poison’ scenario for Buffalo’s opponents this season.

“I’m hoping it’s a huge problem for opposing offenses,” Bills defensive line coach Giff Smith told Buffalobills.com. “That’s the idea going into it.”

Dareus and Williams are not your typical 3-4 300-pound defensive linemen that stand and grind and let the linebackers behind them make all the plays. They get up field, they outmaneuver or simply overpower offensive linemen and make plays on their own.

Last season Williams led the team in tackles for loss with 16, more than double that his closest teammates (three players tied for second with six TFLs). He also led the team in sacks with 5.5, a pretty respectable total for a nose tackle.

In his last season at Alabama, Dareus was the primary concern of the Crimson Tide’s SEC opponents. Yet he still provided Nick Saban’s defense with 11 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback pressures, 4.5 sacks and four pass break ups.

Sensing the potential of putting Dareus and Williams together has Smith excited about Buffalo’s pass rush packages.

“You look at the nickel situation with presumably those two rushing on the inside and then you’ve got (Shawne) Merriman and (Chris) Kelsay outside,” said Smith. “I think it’s going to enable us to get some pressure with just a four man rush where we don’t have to bring a fifth or sixth guy.”

While there’s little question that Buffalo’s subpackages should benefit, individually both Dareus and Williams should see more opportunities purely from lining up alongside one another.

“I think so,” said Smith. “The offense might have to pick their poison there. Both of them have the ability to rush the passer, play the run, execute stunts and pass rush games. Both of them will benefit no question.”

And those advantages should spill over to the rest of Buffalo’s defensive unit. There might be some instances where opponents could decide to double both Dareus and Williams, but that will only lead to more opportunities for Edwards, Merriman, Kelsay and others.

“When you’ve got two players of that caliber can provide that kind of impact we think they’ll invite some one-on-ones with some other players,” said Bills defensive coordinator George Edwards. “That helps us be successful.”