The Buffalo Bills may have addressed their anemic pass rush in the offseason by signing free-agent pass-rushers Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, but they still have some things to improve along the defensive line.
Mainly their run defense.
The Bills allowed 139 rushing yards per game in 2011, which ranked 28th in the league. They also gave up 19 rushing touchdowns. So while fixing the pass rush was a huge priority this offseason, it’s obvious the Bills need to figure out how to stop the run as well.
The additions of Williams and Anderson should reap benefits across the board. An improved pass rush will help the pass defense, but establishing a consistent presence off the edge will also allow Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus to dominate the interior.
But as Bills fans know, a team is only as good as its backups. Consequently, successful franchises are known for having quality depth.
That’s why a healthy Torell Troup would be huge for Buffalo.
Chris Brown, the lead journalist for BuffaloBills.com, recently wrote a detailed piece about Troup’s rehab and recovery. Since the Bills drafted him in the second round (41st overall) in the 2010 draft, Troup has struggled to stay healthy.
Brown details Troup’s long journey to get back to full health. Regarding last year’s offseason, he said the following:
At this time last year Torell Troup was working out like a madman. Performing his own two-a-days in the gym with the lockout compromising team’s [sic] offseasons, Troup was working his way toward adding 13 pounds of lean muscle to his frame. Strengthening his core and his legs to win the trench battles his position demands on every snap, defensive line coach Giff Smith could clearly see a difference the first few days of training camp.
Despite Troup’s valiant and dedicated efforts to rehab, a broken hand and lingering back problems would subsequently halt his progress, as he was forced to shut it down midseason.
In 2012, Troup—along with the team and its loyal fanbase—hopes for better news. And that better news is looking brighter by the day.
Chris Brown reports in his article that Troup has encountered no setbacks thus far and is preparing to be full-go for the start of the regular season. His presence would be a huge asset to the defensive line.
When he was drafted out of Central Florida, Troup was a “ready-made two-gapper” whose duty was to “tie up blockers,” according to Rotoworld.com.
At 6’3” and 326 pounds, Troup still has a ton of upside and will only be 25 years old in June of this year. Though he’s suffered some lingering health issues since entering the league, he’s also worked hard to condition himself and get his body into NFL shape for when his opportunity comes.
If he can return at full health, he’ll be able to eat up blockers and provide a valuable role on the Bills’ increasingly talented defensive line.
Many factors should help the Bills improve their run defense. Dave Wannstedt taking over as defensive coordinator is a good start. The 4-3 system should fit better with the team’s personnel. And adding quality pass-rushers will make the line stronger as a whole.
But don’t forget about Torell Troup. If healthy, he’d be a huge upgrade as a rotational defensive tackle and would help shore up Buffalo’s porous run defense.
And if the Bills can do that, there’s no telling how good the defensive unit can be overall in 2012.