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State of the Buffalo Bills: Defensive Line

A look at Buffalo's defensive line heading into Week 9.

Buffalo Football Report is evaluating the Bills current roster as they prepare for their eighth game of the season. We will discuss each player at each position and provide you positives and negatives with their play through seven games this season.

Defensive Linemen: 

Mario Williams

Positives: Williams leads Buffalo in sacks (3.0) and is pressuring quarterbacks with consistency. He has 18 quarterback hurries and five hits through seven games. Super Mario has fared well in run defense in the first seven games.

Negatives: Despite getting after the quarterback, Pro Football Focus has given Williams a -6.5 rating in pass rushing. He hasn’t been as bad as his rating says, but Williams hasn’t had the same success on the field as he had last year. That said, this isn’t on Williams. The team hasn’t utilized the defensive end correctly and has played him in coverage too often.

Future: Williams hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down and could still finish the 2015 season with double-digit sacks. That said, Dennis Thurman and Rex Ryan will have to unleash Williams and company starting on Sunday.

Jerry Hughes

Positives: Although Hughes fits into the “hasn’t been utilized” correctly category, he’s done a fine job in pass rush, run defense and in coverage. Hughes has been credited with 15 QB hurries and a sack through seven games, while showing plenty of consistency in run defense.

Negatives: The biggest issue with Hughes is the amount of penalties the defensive end takes for Buffalo. He’s been called for seven penalties this year and has three games with multiple penalties.

Future: Much like Mario Williams, Hughes can have a strong performance over his final nine games. Buffalo just needs to let Hughes go after the quarterback more often.

Marcell Dareus

Positives: Dareus is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. This was the case before Rex Ryan joined the team and remains the same with Ryan as head coach. Mr. Big Stuff is among the best in the NFL in run defense and he’s also a very good pass rusher. Dareus is the complete package and the Bills are lucky to have him locked up long term.

Negatives: There truly isn’t much of anything to criticize about Dareus’ game. He’s a dominant player and is just entering his prime.

Future: Dareus is a defensive cornerstone that the Bills have locked up for the majority of his career.

Kyle Williams

Positives: Williams is still playing at a high level at 32 years old. He’s terrific in run defense and should be a player that retires with Buffalo.

Negatives: His age makes you question how much longer he can play at such a high level. Currently, Williams is out with a PCL injury.

Future: Williams won’t be able to keep playing this way forever but right now he’s still doing well because of his talent and because of how dominant Dareus is next to him.

Corbin Bryant

Positives: Decent depth at defensive tackle. Has already set a career-high in combined tackles this season (19). Bryant is better in run defense than pass rush.

Negatives: Large drop-off from Kyle Williams in terms of overall talent. The defensive tackle struggled a bit heading into the bye week.

Future: Bryant will fall back into a reserve role once Williams returns. He’s much better in his capacity as his snaps are almost cut in half.

Stefan Charles

Positives: Has fared well in pass defense when on the field.

Negatives: Charles has only seen 117 snaps this season. Between Marcell Dareus’ suspension in Week 1 and Kyle Williams’ PCL injury, this is a disappointing total. He has shown promise but hasn’t seen a decent role as a reserve.

Future: Unknown. Charles will flash his talent on the field when given an opportunity but then will go for a series of plays without making an impact. It’s puzzling and frustrating.

Alex Carrington

Positives: Carrington has only seen 47 snaps all season, so it’s difficult to point out any positive aspects on defense.

Negatives: Carrington has found himself inactive in a few games and has only seen snaps in Week 1, 2, and 7. He’s clearly not high on Buffalo’s reserve list.

Future: Carrington is most likely a one-and-done player with the Bills.

Jarius Wynn

Positives: Buffalo thought of Wynn as their top defensive line reserve.

Negatives: Tore his ACL in August and is out for the season.

Future: Wynn is under contract through 2016, so he has a chance to return and see significantly time as the team’s top reserve.






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