There aren’t a lot of things you can label as a pleasant surprise when you’re football team is 2-9, but the Buffalo Bills have themselves a gigantic bolt from the blue in fireball defensive tackle Kyle Williams.
All Williams has done for an otherwise ghastly Buffalo defense is contribute 60 tackles this season, which happens to be more than any other defensive lineman in the entire National Football League. He’s also dropped opposing quarterbacks five times for sacks. Among NFL defensive tackles, only rookie sensation Ndamukong Suh (8) and Mike Wright (5.5) have more
Losing team or not, Williams’ play has been Pro Bowl praiseworthy. If you’re not convinced ask Pittsburgh Steelers center Chris Kemoeatu, who was victimized by Williams for two sacks Sunday and flagged for holding Williams on four separate occasions.
“He’s definitely a great player,” Kemoeatu told reporters in the locker room. “Everybody knows he’s strong as hell. I thought we had a good week preparing for him. But my hat goes off to him. He’s a helluva baller. He’s physical, comes off the ball and just hits you in the helmet.”
Not a bad job for a guy many thought was on his way out when George Edwards became defensive coordinator this winter. With the Bills switching from the cover two defense employed throughout Williams’ duration in Buffalo to a more trendy 3-4 scheme, it appeared Williams, who barely tops 300 pounds, would be too small to line up on the nose over center. The sentiment is Williams would have to learn the 3-4 end position or find another team to play for.
That seemed to be the case even more this past April when general manager Buddy Nix used his second draft pick on huge defensive tackle Torell Troup. While Williams would still be in the lineup to begin the season, it was easy to suspect he’d merely be keeping the starting seat warm for the 315-pound rookie.
Williams claims he hasn’t done anything differently than when he first came to the team as a 2006 fifth-round draft pick out of LSU. He’s simply making the most of his opportunities.
“I think I’m the same way since I’ve been here,” Williams told reporters. “I’m going to go out there and play as hard as I can every single time and try to get after those guys, no matter who we’re playing.”
Williams is unquestionably the best draft pick currently on the roster actually drafted by the organization. In fact, you can easily make an argument he’s the best fifth rounder the organization’s ever had. You’d have to go all the way back to 1984 and long-time punter John Kidd to find someone comparable in the fifth round.
When you’re playing on a losing team it’s hard to garnish national recognition, but Williams is worthy of being voted to the Pro Bowl. While Haloti Ngata (Baltimore) will deservedly earn a starting nod at defensive tackle, there’s no one else that has earned it more than Williams. Vince Wilfork (New England) shouldn’t make it on name recognition alone. He’s still a force in the middle for the Patriots, but his numbers aren’t comparable to Williams.
if Buffalo gets any Pro Bowl representation it’s going to come via Williams. Steve Johnson is having a nice season, yesterday aside, but isn’t going to get the nod in a conference loaded with star receivers. Brian Moorman has been there before but having a poor season by his standards.
If Williams played on a better team he’d be the toast of the league. For now, he’ll have to settle for being the toast of the town.
(Photo: Mike Thomas)