Just about every Bills fan you run into is encouraged about the prospects for the team in 2012 in the wake of the free agent acquisitions on defense this offseason. Coupled with a draft class that added even more talent and the fan base is even more confident. That excitement however, pales in comparison to that of the defensive holdovers on Buffalo's roster.
"Who did we add," asked Kyle Williams laughing. "I'm excited. I think (Mario Williams) is going to help a lot and Mark's (Anderson) going to help a lot. You put (Chris) Kelsay back in the room and he'll put his hand back on the ground and Marcell (Dareus) getting another year. We'll have lots of competition and lots of guys pushing one another. Hopefully I can push Marcell, Marcell can push somebody, Mario will push me, Mario will push Mark and I can push them. And hopefully we get to where we think this thing could go.
Defensive tackles have led the Bills in sacks each of the past two years, with Williams logging 5.5 in 2010 and Dareus 5.5 in 2011. Most teams would like to see a premier pass rushing defensive end lead that particular category. That's where Mario Williams comes in.
"Mario is not an impactful player, he is dominant, and he's proven that," said Shawne Merriman. "Just seeing him walk around you can tell by the guy's physique, that he's not something that is just not ordinary walking around here. His football play speaks for itself. Just having him, Kyle, Marcell, Nick (Barett), and Kirk (Morrison) back, and the secondary guys who are quiet leaders on the team that people do not give a lot of credit to like George Wilson. Just the overall attitude of guys walking around in this building is great."
Dareus, who saw more than his share of double teams after Kyle Williams went down with a season-ending foot injury last year could not even put his excitement over the additions into words. He was already happy knowing that his fellow defensive tackle should be healthy for the 2012 campaign. Then came the free agent adds.
"The Bills just really went out and… mmmpphhh," said Dareus. "I really don't know what to say because I really didn't know we were going to make moves like this. It's just like… mmmpphhh! It's bad news for teams I'll tell you that much. If we stay healthy it's going to be a bad look for other teams."
After Dareus heard about the signing of Mario Williams he just went to the nearest weight room and started lifting.
"I was just thinking telling myself, 'The Buffalo Bills are going to eat!' The Bills have been hungry for a while, but we're going to be eating now," he said. "Adding those two ends I'm overwhelmed. I can't wait to hit the field together."
Buffalo's defensive linemen don't want to get too far ahead of themselves. They know their potential has to play out on the field. At this point, however, they like the way things are shaping up.
"If you look at it just written down that looks pretty good," said Kyle Williams. "There are a lot of things that go into being pretty good and it happens down in the weight room and it happens on the practice field. I just think all those names listed they're not scared of either place. I'm excited of where it can go."
"As long as we all contributing like we're capable of this season is going to be a very good season," said Merriman.