The Buffalo Bills have not been afraid to run up the snap count numbers for their dynamite defensive tackle duo of Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus.
Over the past three games, both Dareus and Williams have been on the field for at least 80 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
“We’re always monitoring it,” coach Doug Marrone said. “I think with snaps, it depends where it happens. I think that offensively, if you can stay on the field a little bit, and you go in and get your snaps, you’re fine. If you’re three and out, three and out, three and out, then you’ve got to be careful about the amount of snaps.”
Williams and Dareus saw an uptick in their usage after defensive end Alex Carrington was lost for the season in Week Three because of injury. In the first two games of the season, neither Williams nor Dareus exceeded 80 percent of the defensive plays.
Marrone credited the team’s strength and conditioning staff in getting players in the shape required to be on the field for nearly the entire game – especially important in the case of two 300-plus pounders.
“We’re in good shape. We’re playing well,” Marrone said. “I think that’s got something to do with it. Our offense has been holding the ball more. I think that’s got something to do with it, as well.”
Williams also mentioned that the 53-man roster is somewhat thin along the defensive line. The Bills keep five interior linemen active on game days – Williams, Dareus, Alan Branch, Corbin Bryant and recently signed Stefan Charles. Branch gets the most work, playing nearly half the defensive snaps this season, while Charles has been with the team for just three games and seen only a handful of plays.
For the season, Williams has taken 642 of 787 defensive snaps (81.6 percent), while Dareus has been on the field for 580 plays (73.7 percent), a total that would be higher if it weren’t for injuries suffered in Weeks Three and Four against the Jets and Baltimore.
Williams has already set a career high with seven sacks. Dareus, meanwhile, has a career-high 33 tackles, and his next sack will be his sixth, which will also be a single-season best.
The Bills aren’t required to issue an official injury report until after today’s practice, but Marrone said Tuesday the entire team took part in on-field work.
“Really the first time we’ve gotten to have everybody out on the field, which is good,” he said. “It’s important and I’m excited because it’s the healthiest we’ve been and yet at the same point we haven’t practiced healthy like this for a long time now. It’s been two days.”
Safety Jairus Byrd appeared on team play-by-play man John Murphy’s radio show Monday night, saying he was open-minded about returning to the Bills in the offseason, when he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.
“I’ve always said all along that I want to be where I’m wanted, and if it’s here, then great,” he said. “I’ve been here for four years, and I want to continue to build on that.”
Byrd has three interceptions in the past two games.
“I give Jairus a lot of credit; he worked extremely hard to get back from when he had the foot issue. I think for any player it takes a little bit of time before you go out there,” Marrone said. “It’s not like riding a bike where you can jump out there. Better breaks on the ball, better in practice, better in everything. ... He is playing at a very high level right now, which is exciting for everyone.”