Just after the Bills started their 2012 season, defensive lineman Marcell Dareus was forced to deal with a tragedy in his family.
His brother Simeon Gilmore was one of three men shot to death in Pelham, Alabama, an event that caused Dareus to leave the team briefly although he didn’t miss any games. Dareus may have been present in body for those games, but he wasn’t always there in spirit. Dareus says that dealing with his brother’s death made it hard to focus on football, something that came across during an ineffectual first half.
“It’s really tough to come back and think about work when every time you turn around you lose someone that’s close to you,” Dareus said, via Chris Brown of the team’s website. ”And you really don’t have a mother or father to fall back on and talk to. It took a toll on me last year. I just had to be a man and finish the season hard and suck it all up.”
Dareus rebounded in the second half and finished second on the team with 5.5 sacks, but Brown writes that he isn’t assured of a starting job this year. Alex Carrington saw a lot of time with the first unit when the Bills flashed a three-man front and Jay Ross battled Dareus for snaps when they went with four down linemen.
Camp and the preseason will let us know whether that’s a full-fledged competition or if the coaching staff wanted to keep Dareus motivated, but he’s shown plenty of ability over his first two seasons even with last year’s early struggles. Absent any other outside factors that split his attention, we’d expect that ability to wind up winning out in the battle for snaps and more success as long as Dareus can display it consistently.