Marcell Dareus says he doesn’t grade himself until after the season.
The website Pro Football Focus doesn’t wait that long, however, and the results aren’t pretty through seven games for the Buffalo Bills’ second-year defensive tackle.
Of 90 defensive tackles or nose tackles graded by the website – which grades every player on every snap of the season – Dareus has the worst score of any against the run, a rating of minus-9.0. He’s had a negative grade against the run in five of Buffalo’s seven games.
“It kills me every day. I pride myself on stopping the run,” Dareus said. “We all pride ourselves on stopping the run, but things just keep happening.”
It’s been a nightmare start to the season for Dareus, the third overall pick in the 2011 draft. On-field events have been the least of his troubles. On the day the Bills opened the season last month in New York, Dareus’ 19-year-old half brother, Simeon Gilmore, was found murdered in Alabama, a victim in a triple homicide.
Dareus put on a brave face in the days and weeks that followed, not missing any game time despite returning home to be with his family on two occasions. But such a senseless tragedy isn’t easily forgotten.
“I really don’t know anymore,” Dareus said last week, when asked whether he thought his play had been affected by the circumstances in his personal life. “It’s life. I really don’t want to speak on that.
“It’s just how things are right now. I still love football. Love everything about it. Love the people, love my teammates. It’s just … I don’t know.”
Bills coach Chan Gailey similarly was slow to say whether he thought what’s happened off the field has impacted Dareus on it.
“I can’t speak to off the field,” Gailey said. “You’d probably need to talk to him about off the field. He’s had to deal with a lot but he’s come to work every day and that’s what I see. I don’t know how he’s handling all that other stuff.
“But the play on the field is, to me, in line with the other people on the football team. Can he be better? Can we be better? Yes, everybody can step their play up a notch and improve our defense and they all have to. I’m not going to talk about individual play one way or the other, it’s a group thing. Everybody has to do what they’re supposed to do.”
Understandably, the 6-foot-3, 331-pounder hasn’t been as gregarious as usual.
“I feel like I’m playing OK, but OK isn’t good enough,” he said. “I gotta find a way to get off these double teams and make some plays. That’s how it is right now. I’ve just got to face it. I don’t feel lost on the field, not by a long shot. Things come up and you’ve got to deal with them.”
Dareus has two sacks and 13 tackles through seven weeks.
“Obviously we want him to play better,” fellow defensive tackle Kyle Williams said of Dareus. “He wants to play better. I think that goes for everybody. It is not just him.
“There are 11 guys that are responsible for something – responsible for the way the defense is going.”
Former Bills punter Chris Mohr has been selected to receive the 27th annual Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Distinguished Service Award for the 2012 season. Mohr will be honored during pregame ceremonies at the Bills-Jacksonville game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Dec. 2 and at the Monday Quarterback Club luncheon at the Adams Mark Hotel the next day.
Mohr played in 160 regular-season games over his 10-year career in Buffalo, from 1991-2000. He was active in community service as a supporter and volunteer for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.
He is the vice president of sales and product development for the Nviroclean Co. and lives in Thompson, Ga., with his wife and four children.
The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Distinguished Service Award was established by the Monday Quarterback Club in 1986 to honor former players for long and meritorious service to the Bills. Mohr becomes the 32nd former Bills player to be selected for the award over the past 27 years.