Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola was giving a couple of general thoughts about the Buffalo Bills following the teams' preseason game last month when he got right to the point.
"I think you've got to start with Kyle Williams. He's a blue-collar guy who's extremely talented," Raiola said. "One of the top D-tackles in the league I think. You can't look at them without starting there."
The feeling in the Bills' locker room is the same. Williams is a team captain, and the one his teammates frequently reference first when talking about the rebuilt defensive line.
"Any time you've got a guy like that on your team, it opens up things for other guys. Some of the things he does are amazing," defensive end Chris Kelsay said. "He's obviously a great player. I'm biased because he's a close friend, but he's a huge asset for this team."
That recognition has always been enough for the 29-year-old Williams, who has come from being a fifth-round draft pick in 2006 out of LSU to a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2009-10).
"Any time you have the respect of your teammates, your coaches and the guys you play against, that's all you can ask for. Other things, they come and they go, but when you have respect within your own team, guys know . that's what's most important," he said.
Much attention has been paid to a Williams on the Bills' defense, but it's usually Mario. Plenty was written and said before the season about how the presence of Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus inside would benefit Mario Williams, but it works both ways.
Kyle Williams and Dareus combined for three sacks in Sunday's 35-17 win over Kansas City.
"The thing is, we all can get work together. If you have a guy that's creating things, that's getting pressure, making a guy get off his spot . a lot of the sacks in the league, the first guy in doesn't get the sack," Kyle Williams said. "It's a guy getting off the spot, and a guy cleaning up his rush getting it. Hopefully, can get a guy off the spot so we can get a sack, or we can get him off and Mario can get a sack."
That's exactly what happened on Kyle Williams' first sack Sunday. The Bills had good coverage in the secondary, and Mario Williams pushed right tackle Eric Winston back enough to force quarterback Matt Cassel to bail from the pocket. Kyle Williams ran a stunt with Dareus at the snap and found himself matched up with left guard Ryan Lilja. When Cassel was forced out, Kyle Williams disengaged with Lilja and was there for the sack.
Williams' second sack was the kind that will find its way onto plenty of year-end highlight films. On the final play of the third quarter, he somehow found himself with just Chiefs running back Nate Eachus standing between him and Cassel. Williams got a lightning-quick jump off the snap and made road kill of Eachus as he brought Cassel down for an 8-yard loss. After the play, Williams pointed to the crowd and unleashed a celebratory scream.
"After a year away - not that I needed to be reminded or have it rekindled just how much fun this can be and how lucky and blessed we are to do it - I really enjoyed it."
It's safe to assume the Bills had some fun with that replay during film review.
"It's always been great to watch him play. He's 100 miles an hour every time the ball's snapped," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "He's hard to handle one on one for anybody whether it's run or pass. It's fun to watch those guys."
Williams missed the final 11 games of last season after having surgery to remove bone spurs that were rubbing against his Achilles tendon. He said before the season that he felt better physically than he had at any point in his professional career. That remains true after two games.
"I still feel good. I'm continuing to get better," he said. "I still have soreness and things like that, but they said that's going to be something I'll probably deal with this year and then after that it should go away,.
"I think the most encouraging thing is I know I'm getting better rather than getting worse. I think the main difference it makes is during the week. I feel healthy, I can work out, I can practice the way I like to, then when I get out there on Sunday I don't have to worry about spending as much time getting it warmed up. I know I'm going to be good to go and it's not going to hurt."
Bills safety Jairus Byrd made it through the entire game Sunday, but went for X-rays on his foot afterward.
Byrd was seen in the locker room Monday in a walking boot, but Gailey said the X-rays were negative.
Receiver Ruvell Martin also went for an X-ray on an unspecified injury, but that also came back negative.
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who suffered a shoulder injury against the Chiefs, left Monday night to return to Alabama and be with his family following the death of his 19-year-old brother on Sept. 9.
"I think he'll be OK," Gailey said of Dareus' injury. "He understands exactly what he needs to do in the next couple days so he can get back here and be ready to go when he gets back, whenever that is."
Fred Jackson said after his television show on WBBZ-TV Monday that a range-of-motion examination showed his lateral collateral ligament will not require surgery -- a remote concern before the checkup. His recovery should happen in the earlier part of the three- to eight-week diagnosis spectrum he was initially given. He plans to do some light running soon.