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McDermott on Dareus' low snap count: It's about getting the 'best 11'

Peppered by questions about Marcell Dareus’ limited playing time against the Jets, Bills head coach Sean McDermott reiterated his philosophy on what it takes to win games.

“Our system is our system, just in terms of rotating players. We want fresh players,” McDermott said before Wednesday’s practice. “…That’s just philosophically what we believe in.”

That philosophy doesn’t seem to include playing a 331-pound defensive tackle making more than most NFL quarterbacks. Dareus played 59 percent of the defensive snaps in the Bills’ 21-12 win over the Jets on Sunday. Naturally, that raised eyebrows.  

McDermott said Wedensday that Dareus’ hip wasn’t a factor in his decreased playing time.

The coach also reiterated that “everyone adds value” and “we need everyone to win.” But the question remains: How much do the Bills need Dareus to win?

The seventh-year pro carries a salary-cap hit of $16.4 million this season — which includes a base salary of $9.75 million and a workout bonus of $250,000. But McDermott said external factors like player salaries don’t influence his decision-making on game day.

“I don’t think about those things,” he said. “I think about what’s going to give us the best chance to win a football game. And that’s keeping players fresh up front. …We’re focused on what we do and how we win and getting better every week.

“It’s all about getting the best 11 on the field and putting the players into positions to be successful. There’s value in every position. You need 11 guys and 11 guys being unselfish, doing their job. As I said the other day, being one-eleventh of the defense and doing your job. And with respect to Marcell, I thought Marcell did a heck of a job of that the other day.”

Dareus’ 34 snaps against the Jets were the fewest he’s had since Week 16 of the 2015 season, when he played 16 snaps against the Dallas Cowboys before leaving due to injury.

On Wednesday, McDermott acknowledged the inherent value of Dareus’ position without providing much insight on Dareus himself.

“Sure, there’s definitely value in defensive linemen. Because of the ability to effect the quarterback,” the coach said. “You flip it the other way…there’s value in the quarterback. Defensively, who can affect the quarterback? Defensive linemen do that, so there’s value in that position, sure.”

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