Today’s post will begin the defensive side of the ball with review of injuries over this past 2017 season. There were a total of 6 players that played defensive tackle this season with varying results. Those players were Marcell Dareus, Adolphus Washington, Cedric Thorton, Rickey Hatley, Jerel Worthy, and Kyle Williams.
First up is DT Marcell Dareus. The 7th year pro saw minimal playing time during his 8 games in Buffalo suffering hip and ankle injuries, the latter which forced him to miss the Denver Broncos tilt. During the 7 games he played, he recorded 3.5 sacks, 24 tackles, and assisted in 15 additional tackles. Prior to that, Dareus had dealt with other soft tissue injuries, off the field issues/suspensions, and uninspired play which led to his eventual trade to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 6th round pick halfway through the season. The 2011 3rd overall pick did produce at times while he was in a Buffalo uniform, but after he got his second contract, he appeared to shut down and be content with what he had accomplished. Due to his contract and falling out of favor by not “trusting the process”, it will be a cold day in hell before he dons another Bills uniform.
Next up is DT Rickey Hatley. The rookie saw time in what may be possibly the biggest two games in recent Bills memory, playing in the season finale recording 1 tackle. He recorded 2 tackles and assisted on another in the playoff loss to Jacksonville. Hatley did not make much of a mark during his brief stint in Buffalo and while his contract comes very cheap, the front office brass will have to determine whether he warrants additional time with the Bills next season.
Another player that had a shorter stay with the Bills is DT Jerel Worthy. During his 5 game, 1 tackle, 4 assisted tackle stint, Worthy sustained a significant concussion at the end of the preseason which forced him to miss the first 3 games. This was followed by a thumb injury which did not cause any missed time. Unfortunately, once finally getting healthy, the Bills cut him in mid November and he has been out of a job since then. Despite being a former 2nd round pick, Worthy has not shown the ability to be a starter in the NFL, but did show the ability to be a depth player in the preseason. Unless he gets signed to another team, he could be a nice camp body going into next season.
DT Cedric Thorton is the next player to see time at the position during the 2017 season. Thankfully, he did not suffer any injuries during his season here and was able to start 3 games recording 2 sacks, 18 tackles, and 9 assisted tackles in a backup role. He is currently a free agent that the Bills have not signed back to another contract and may be another camp body option for depth going into next season.
DT DeOndre Coleman rounds out the depth players at the DT position. The 4th year pro saw time in 6 games recording 3 tackles with 4 assists during the 2017 season. Coleman also dealt with a knee injury late in the season which did not affect his availability. As he is a free agent, do not expect him to come back unless he is invited back as a camp body.
Approaching the returning performers on defense, DT Adolphus Washington comes up with a healthy season under his belt. The 2nd year pro saw time in 15 games with 10 starts totaling 1 sack and 22 tackles with 11 assists. As he is still on his rookie contract, he should be on the team for next year barring any off season issues such as his water park incident from last year. However, if he does not improve his play, he may not get a second contract in Buffalo under this new regime.
Finally, DT Kyle Williams makes his appearance on this list. The heart and soul of this team finally saw the playoffs after a long 12 years in the trenches and while on the downside of his career, still performed effectively providing 3 sacks and 21 tackles with 20 assists. The big man also saw time on offense during a memorable 1 yard TD plunge during the regular season finale against Miami. During the 2017 season, Williams dealt with a multitude of injuries but did not miss any time. The 12th year pro dealt with thumb and groin injuries along with appearing on the injury report nearly every week requiring rest days. While he is not as effective as he has been in past seasons, he will still be invaluable as a mentor to the younger players and an excellent transition piece as the Bills search for his replacement both at the DT position and as a leader. Expect Williams to deal with several injuries next season with plenty of rest days to get him through his final season.
Additions to the team include DT Star Lotelelui signed from the Panthers help shore up the D-line. While the starters may be nearly set, depth will continue to be addressed in the draft and in camp to find young hungry players ready to make their mark. Continue to check back with Banged Up Bills for the latest updates and articles on the Buffalo Bills. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!