Enhancing the bitter disappointment of a 16th consecutive Buffalo Bills season about to end without a playoff appearance is the fact that what was supposed to have been the team's greatest strength has been its greatest shortcoming: defense.
But tackle Marcell Dareus, whose performance has been among the most disappointing aspects of the Bills' 6-7 record (especially after he received a $100-million-plus contract), said Tuesday the letdown had as much to do with unrealistic expectations as anything else.
As far as Dareus is concerned, the fact the Bills have fallen from fourth in the NFL last season to 20th overall and are 30th in the league in sacks after being first in that category a year ago shouldn't be as much of a surprise at it has been widely viewed by him and everyone else.
Not with a new coach, Rex Ryan, and a new defensive system in place.
“Of course, the hype was there and we all saw it and we all feel it as well; we’re a good team on paper,” Dareus said. “Getting a new head coach and stuff, his system has to get placed in and it doesn’t happen in a year. I think that we all missed that and looked at the pieces that we put in and forgot the big picture of letting it all set, seal and don’t touch it for a little bit. Let the cement harden and let" the coaches "know we’re on concrete.
“I feel like we jumped the gun on certain things, but we’re still playing together and we’re still moving closer and closer to what we’re looking for.”