I speak to my father often about our Buffalo Bills. He doesn’t follow the game with as much fervor as I do so often when we speak it’s me going on passionately about my point with him nodding hoping I’ll wrap it up soon. I remember during the Dick Jauron era telling my dad that the Bills lacked an edge, that mean streak that often the better teams had. Too often I felt that the Bills took lesser players because they were “character” guys instead of going after top talent because the player was either a “diva” or a “red-flag”. This is not a concern I have with the Doug Whaley/Doug Marrone regime, clearly with the new look the Bills are putting talent above and beyond character concerns, my new question though is have they taken too many character concerns?
The first name that comes to mind is obviously Marcel Dareus, twice in less than a month he has been arrested, now the rumor mill has it that he could be looking at a suspension. Clearly he cannot help the team on the bench, which is where he was the first half of week 17 last year when he was benched for a half for habitual lateness, this coming off a game 2 weeks earlier that he didn’t start for the same reason. Clearly something is not right with Dareus and he needs help, the question is what will he do once he gets it, we all know the expression “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”, let’s hope Dareus can get his life on track. The Patriots are an example of a team that brings players with “red-flags” often but is usually hailed by the media for doing it because they have the right type of locker room to handle said player. This should be the same thing in Buffalo, Marcell lines up right next to Kyle Williams every play. Williams is the consummate professional and has all the credibility you would need being a 5th round draft pick turned pro bowler. Marcell has no excuses, he just needs to get his head straight.
Dareus isn’t the only current Bill in trouble, his most recent arrest stemming from drag racing charges took place while drag racing a teammate, defensive end Jerry Hughes. Hughes is playing for a new contract which makes his poor decision even more puzzling. Also, Hughes must know about the issues that Marcel is facing right now, how could he think the drag race was a good idea? Hughes is not expected to face any type of suspension for the incident but still, it’s not a good look.
The Bills made a huge trade this offseason acquiring wide receiver Mike Williams from Tampa Bay. Williams played for Coach Marrone at Syracuse, while talented, Williams eventually got into trouble and was later kicked off the team, causing his draft stock to fall. He eventually landed in the 4th round. Williams had an impressive rookie season finishing just under 1,000 yards. In 2012 he also finished just shy of 1,000 yards, in 2013 he was hurt for most of the season. Tampa brought in a new coaching staff this year after the old regime gave Williams a 6 year contract. How did Mike reward their faith? He accumulated over $200,000 in fines for being late to team meetings, he was arrested for criminal mischief and trespassing and in a bizarre incident he was stabbed in the leg by his brother. Williams has admitted he has “some growing up to do”. Let’s hope he does.
A couple of the Buffalo Bills 2014 draft picks come with either character or work ethic concerns. 5th round pick Cyril Richardson is said to have work ethic concerns being the reason why a guard who was a consensus 2nd-3rd pick in the pre-draft process fell to the 5th round. 7th round pick Seantrel Henderson was one of the top High School recruits in the nation before choosing to play at the University of Miami. He has first round talent but fell to the 7th round due to three failed drug tests in college, including testing positive at the NFL Combine. Even players like Kiko Alonso and Sammy Watkins have some red flags from early in their college careers.
Do the Bills need to be altar boys? No. Like I said earlier when Jauron was the coach we had a team full of character, it was just devoid of talent. The Bills, like any other team have to take some risks, that is the only way to get top flight talent at not a top flight price. The early 1990’s Super Bowl Bills were known as the “Bickering Bills” here is hoping that the new look of the “Bad Boy Bills” can bring the same type of success.
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