After the Mario Williams signing, Bills fans believed they finally acquired the pass-rusher they needed to greatly improve their defense.
Not many people knew who Mark Anderson was when he signed a four-year, $27.5 million contract a few weeks later. It turns out, though, that Anderson may play the biggest part in the success of the defensive line for the Buffalo Bills.
Teams have seen the success of Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. Lining them up together using a 4-3 defensive scheme will only hurt opposing offenses more. And Mario Williams will continue his superb pass-rushing ability with the help of Dareus and Kyle Williams.
With most of the focus on the above mentioned players, Anderson will need to flourish to provide the Bills with a solid pass rush. If Anderson can mimic the 10 sacks he finished the 2011 season with, the Bills defensive line could be very powerful, because they would be getting a solid pass rush from everyone on the line.
Overall, Anderson has totaled 35.5 career sacks. While 12 of those sacks did come in his rookie season in 2006, Anderson showed new life last season with the Patriots. He became a more complete player last year, and he added numerous pass-rush moves, which will allow him to become a player with more consistency in his play.
At 28, if Anderson can continue to improve and give the Bills even two more years of double-digit sacks, the Bills defense will improve dramatically.
With opposing quarterbacks under constant pressure, it would allow the defensive backs, and even linebackers, to jump routes and make plays on passes that they normally wouldn't be able to make. Furthermore, it would allow the corners to play tight on the wide receivers and limit slants, screens and short-yardage passes. This would be a major strength against a team like the New England Patriots.
While the Bills have many key pieces on the defense, Anderson is the wild card. His ability to bring a pass rush opposite Mario Williams will be key. If he doesn't produce, teams will not have to focus on him as much. If he does build off of last season, though, the Bills could potentially have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL and become a nightmare for opposing offenses.
Only time will tell.
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