The 2010 campaign proved to be a season that left a lot to be desired on the defensive side of the ball for the Bills. The transition to the 3-4 defensive scheme was a work in progress from start to finish, and a move to a more multiple front is on the horizon for 2011. One thing that won't need any changing is the man in the middle of their defensive front.
Sure it's a fact that the Bills finished last in the league against the run in 2010, but Kyle Williams wasn't a player lacking in the area of run defense. In fact the defensive tackle set a career-high in tackles, which ranked second in the league amongst interior defenders, led the team in tackles for loss, sacks and chipped in a pair of fumble recoveries.
His best season earned him his first career Pro Bowl nod and the runaway winner for Bills Defensive MVP honors.
"Kyle had a great year," said defensive linemate Marcus Stroud. "He came out and came to play every game. He definitely did his thing this season."
With no proven pass rushing threat on the edge, opposing defenses typically doubled Williams in an effort to neutralize his disruptive play inside, and even those measures saw mixed results.
Every week he came in and produced and did his thing and from a D-tackle spot, so that's even that much more (impressive)," said Arthur Moats. "He was facing double teams pretty much every play, but for him to produce the way he did. He was a beast."
With the team transitioning to a 3-4 front in 2010, many openly wondered if Williams (6'1" 305) could handle the two gap responsibilities of a nose tackle. In George Edwards defensive system however, Williams was allowed to freelance as there was more of a hybrid nature to Buffalo's 3-4 defense.
"The things that I was doing weren't all that different," Williams said. "I really don't think anybody really believed me to be honest with you. But we ended up playing a lot of under, solid over-front where I got to play some three-technique and also played the shade which was what I was comfortable with and we mixed it in. We played a lot of different defenses and fronts and I was able to move around make some plays."
Blessed with great football instincts and anticipation, Williams often beat his opponent to the play with speed, smarts and technique instead of power.
"He made plays every game," said Torell Troup. "You can always notice him on film. I had fun watching him play, just watching some of the things that he did."
As well as Williams played he keeps coming back to what wound up being an unsuccessful season for the Bills as a whole. With run defense a top priority in the offseason, Williams is resolute in making significant improvements as a defensive unit in that area.
In need of an influx of premier talent, Williams realizes that better performance may come in the form of new teammates.
"There were times when we played well (against the run), and when we played bad Coach Gailey told us it was just awful," said Williams. "Obviously, every roster turns over every year. So, we're going to get new guys in there, guys that are going to be coming back, start feeling things out a little bit better and just get better. It has to be something that we have to focus on. You can't just be lip service to it. When we get to OTAs and start practicing it has to be our mindset and the thing that we're talking about is stopping the run and doing what we can to hopefully get that done."
Williams, however has proven himself a vital cog in the future of Buffalo's defense. One that head coach Chan Gailey hopes to be able to lean on for a long time.
There's no way to put in words what a guy like that means to your team,'' Gailey said.He's a great player and then his leadership, his toughness, the way he goes about his business. There's no way to put into words what a guy like that means to your team."