Bills fans are still in the “honeymoon” phase after their team landed the biggest free agent signing in franchise history, and rightfully so. Mario Williams brings to Buffalo a ton of upside, with very little risk.
Analysts and writers have beaten to death the obvious impacts he brings to the Bills’ defense: improving the pass rush, changing the common free agent opinion of the city of Buffalo, adding great work ethic, etc.
The most common line that gets repeated is how scary the Mario, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus trio will be. It’s true, it will be scary, but there are four players on a 4-3 defensive line. People are greatly underestimating the man who will be responsible for playing opposite Mario Williams: No. 90, Chris Kelsay.
Sure, many fans will say the spot should easily go to Shawne Merriman. In theory, Merriman should be the perfect fit for the position, but there’s no indication that he’d be able to make it a full season.
In three of the last four seasons, he has a total of seven starts. It’s very enticing think about Merriman returning to his 2007 form, but he needs actually be on the field to start gaining some faith.
No my friends, Chris Kelsay is arguably the biggest winner of them all. In the switch back to a 4-3, Kelsay will be moved back to his natural position of defensive end. No longer will we have to watch the nightmare that is “Chris Kelsay in Pass Coverage.”
In fact, Kelsay notched more interceptions in his seven years as a defensive end (3) than he did as a linebacker (0).
Kelsay is a natural pass rusher. He may not be a dominant one, but he’s solid at the very least. In 2009, the last time the Bills ran a constant 4-3, Kelsay finished the season with five sacks. Two years later, in 2011 as a 3-4 linebacker, Kelsay again fished with five sacks in only 12 games.
Think about it, the offensive line has five guys to block the Bills’ front four of Williams², Dareus, and Kelsay. The Williamses and Dareus each already have a track record of being a handful, which will likely take up one or two double teams (with the help of a tight end), leaving Kelsay one-on-one almost every play.
If you watch the film from the games where the Bills use a 4-3 formation (2010 vs. Pittsburgh stands out most) and Kelsay puts his hand on the ground, he does have a nose for the quarterback.
Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, and Chris Kelsay as the 2012 Buffalo Bills defensive line is scary. Tom Brady, Mark Sanchez, and Peyton Manning, (Tennessee, San Francisco, and Arizona all play the Bills in 2012) should all be on notice.