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Vic Carucci's Bills Wake-Up Call: Dareus must deliver

The wait has been ridiculously long.

Seven games and no Marcell Dareus. No contribution from a player who is supposed to be one of the NFL's best at his position. Nothing from the $100-million man.

This isn't the way it's supposed to be. Big-time talent should never be simply taking up space, which in Dareus' case, is considerable. Big-time talent must be making a difference in every game.

Finally, for the first time in the 2016 season, the Bills will have Dareus on the field. The three weeks of recovering from a pulled hamstring -- which followed his four-game suspension for substance abuse -- are, he insists, over. He will line up at his defensive tackle spot against the New England Patriots Sunday at New Era Field.

And, now, Dareus must deliver.

He must be every bit of what the Bills were missing in their humiliating effort against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday. He has to be that run-stuffing force that would have done something to help prevent Jay Ajayi from running for 214 yards.

Dareus should be rested and fresh and ready to play at a dominant level. No excuses.

LeGarrette Blount should find nowhere to run because of him. Tom Brady should feel pressure up the middle from him as well as heat from the outside caused, in part, because Dareus is tying up interior blockers. No excuses.

He is on the team, being paid what he's paid, for situations such as this.

The history of unreliability, as in the form of two drug suspensions, and poor judgement, such as crashing his car in a drag race, can't be brushed aside, nor can his struggles to cope with the losses of people close to him.

Dareus has been sketchy about the details of what he has done since that bizarre announcement, an hour before kickoff of the Bills' Aug. 20 preseason game against the New York Giants, that he was entering a rehabilitation facility.

He never did enter the facility, and being photographed on Chippewa Street later that night pretty much confirmed it. Dareus later said his problems were related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Then, after his suspension ended, he was excited to be coming back. Then, he wasn't coming back because of a hamstring pull. What sort of conditioning work did Dareus do? That has been a question to which he refuses to give a straight answer.

Fine. He again says he's excited about returning to action. That's fine, too.

But the time for talking is over. The Bills face a critical game against a division opponent. They figure to need to play not only better defense than last Sunday but likely the best they've played all season. They need everyone on that side of the ball to perform as well as possible, but they need Dareus to be what his contract says he's supposed to be: a difference-maker.

Dareus must deliver.

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