The Buffalo Bills have stepped up their defense in recent weeks. A lot of their success has been traced back to the returns of Jairus Byrd and Stephon Gilmore, and while those two have really helped to round out the unit it’s been the gelling of the guys on the defensive line into the new defensive scheme that has taken the Bills’ defense to the next level.
Mario Williams is currently the leading Pro Bowl vote-getter among DEs in the AFC and deservedly so for his performance so far this season. A lot has been written about the other DE, Jerry Hughes, in the past few weeks as he has emerged as a sack-master on the other side of the line. While Williams and Hughes have both been important players up front for the Bills you could argue that the key cogs in the success of this unit lie in the middle of the line.
Kyle Williams is having his best statistical season since 2010. Through 11 games he has 48 tackles and a forced fumble. His seven sacks so far this season have set a new career-high. Williams has always been a productive player for the Bills, but he is experiencing a late-career renaissance in his 8th year with the Bills under new DC Mike Pettine. The new defense seems to serve his skill set well.
Marcell Dareus has always been a solid player but never quite lived up to the No. 3 pick in the draft status in his first two seasons in the league. Dareus has responded to his critics with a monster season. His 50 tackles on the year have already set the mark for his career-high. He has recorded 5.5 sacks in each of his first two seasons in the league. This year he has recorded five through the first 11 games. More importantly Dareus has started to show a penchant for taking over games. He’s been near unblockable at times and single-handedly made New York Jets QB Geno Smith uncomfortable early on in last week’s match-up.
It’s very hard for an offense to scheme around one dominant interior defensive lineman let alone two. Williams and Dareus are quickly rising up the ranks as one of the best DT duos in the league. If these two guys continue to play at the level that they have over the past month or so then Pettine will have one of the top defenses in the league for a long time to come.