Tonawanda News — “I have a lot to prove to myself,” he said. “Of course, I’ve had a couple of bumps and bruises in the road. But at the same time, I’ve overcome them. I’m just focusing in on this year, getting better, and being the best player that I can be.”
The sky is still regarded to be the limit for Dareus, but he’s yet to come close to scratching that surface.
Playing through an assortment of injuries in his rookie season, Dareus still led the team with 5½ sacks on a porous defense. Last year, he finished second on the team with 5½ sacks, but was knocked for his inconsistency for much of the season.
First-year defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said Dareus is “having a pretty good camp,” while noting there is still much he needs to improve upon.
The biggest issue is getting Dareus to use his powerful, 6-foot-3, 300-plus-pound frame to create the same type of havoc along the line as he did in college.
“We’re trying to get him to be a little more aggressive and roll off the ball and use his size,” Pettine said. “Sometimes you get big guys that think they’re little guys. He has to understand at times he just needs to use his size and strength.”
Dareus had a solid scrimmage on Monday, when he bullied his way into the backfield to disrupt plays on several occasions. And yet, there have been times when he’s relied too much on finesse.
Veteran defense tackle Kyle Williams, who has taken Dareus under his wing, is confident his teammate is making progress.
“Fans and everybody outside and inside, coaches and players, are kind of waiting on him to kind of take off and fly. And I think he’s there,” Williams said. “I just want to be around for that, because I know physically what he can do. It’s just really trying to narrow his focus.”