Former Bears, Dolphnis, and Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt now runs the Bills defense. And he wants defensive linemen who will be able to run past offensive linemen.
“Obviously they’ve got to be able to move and get off of blocks,” Wannstedt tells Chris Brown of the team’s official website. “Our defensive linemen will never hear the phrase, ‘Hey you’ve got to use up a double team or use up a block.’ We want them making plays. I think that [Marcell] Dareus is an athlete, Dwan Edwards is an athlete. All those guys are.”
And so the team’s defensive tackles plan to shed some pounds. Dareus, for example, wants to drop from a 2011 playing weight of 325-30 pounds.
“I want to be a little lighter this year because I want to be able to fly around the field and run to the ball,” Dareus said. “I want to be able to play every down.”
He plans to lose the bulk of his bulk in the coming weeks. “I’m going to be thinning up more in the time between minicamp and training camp,” said Dareus. “I’m not far off now, but I’ve still got to get down. I’m putting on so much muscle because when you’re lifting hard and you don’t have much more body fat it makes dropping weight hard.”
(Who does he think he is? Martellus Bennett?)
Torell Troup hopes to decrease from 327 to a svelte 315, and Spencer Johnson wants to push the needle down to 295 from 305. (Given their starting and ending points, we suggest a dose or two of Ex-Lax.)
Regardless of whether they each can find the gas pedal, the defensive linemen regularly will be getting the green light under Wannstedt.
“It’s going to be a defensive-line friendly scheme, and by that I mean we’ll be as good as our guys up front play,” he recently said, via Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News. “That’s how it was at Dallas, at Miami, every place where we’ve run this scheme. The guys up front, it all starts there. If we can get a good rotation going, keep some guys healthy, you know that kind of sets the foundation for what we’re trying to get done here.”
The rotation includes free-agent arrivals Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, giving the Bills one of the more potent collections of defensive linemen in the conference. With the pro game leaning more and more toward passing the football, teams that can disrupt the aerial attack will be better suited to win.
And so it looks like the team in Western New York will be emulating a team from the other side of the state (and a bit beyond) that has captured two of the last five Super Bowls based in part on the strength of a relentless defensive line.
There are worse franchises to mimic.