Legal Tackle

We can only wish to get back to questions about whether Marcell Dareus will meet potential. The good news is that he can turn the discussion by not getting arrested again. The absence of further police encounters shouldn’t be asking too much, as most employers would have posted a Craigslist ad to fill his position by now. As it stands, his worst punishment has been getting to take off the end of OTAs, which sounds more like an unexpected vacation than anything.

(Gary Wiepert/AP)
To stay on the field, Marcell Dareus must stay out of trouble off of it.  (Gary Wiepert/AP)

He has to try to drop one charge at a time. Really getting arrested for fake pot wasn’t enough. He topped his baffling drug incident by endangering fellow motorists, Bills fans or not. Finishing an endless serving of trouble at a buffet is sort-of fitting, although it’s doubtful he planned to end his informal drag race where he crashed.

He wasn’t careless in the way fellow single-digit pick Mike Williams was when the massive offensive tackle and failure flipped a truck on his way to work. But Dareus did choose to have perilous fun on the roads you use. Thankfully, nobody was forced to prove that they’re unable to block him.

The defensive lineman is nowhere near embodying failure like the careless putz Williams, although nobody is. Mike Williams the receiver could impede a single cornerback on the weak side of a C.J. Spiller edge run and do more for the art of blocking than the garbage bag stuffed with Wonder Bread who shares his name ever did. Regardless, Dareus gets grief he doesn’t deserve, at least for his play. For example, “bust” is still one of the words Google suggests upon typing his name. He’s not approaching that status as a football player. Maybe searchers are after tales of the police nabbing him and not of failing as a high pick.

The best way for the Alabama man to remove the word from consideration is to rise to his draft status. Coincidentally, he’d have to focus on football enough that he wouldn’t have time for trouble.

The lineman must seize the chance to take over games. Dareus isn’t exactly the defensive line’s Ringo. A tackle doesn’t need overwhelming statistics despite his position’s name to be dominant, but the Bills need him to be disruptive every snap. This is especially true if Jim Schwartz is going to deploy the front four as predators and not as passive scavengers waiting by the property line.

Count being a Pro Bowl alternate as a career accomplishment, if not precisely an objective one. As for raw numbers, Dareus accumulated an impressive 7.5 sacks last season. That’s particularly good for his spot: there were only four defensive tackles in front of him, including the man at his side, Kyle Williams. If he doesn’t want us to describe his performance as an all-you-can-eat feast on quarterbacks, then he has an incentive to obey traffic rules.

The defense must improve at stopping ball carriers beside the quarterback. Dareus may get more help stuffing the run: higher-quality linebackers could envelop running backs if he’s able to get blockers to chase him. Still, that presumes he starts behaving as of right now. The Bills miss the relatively carefree days of late 2013 when he was merely showing up late.

His offenses might seem petty, but the quantity of them is troubling. Little things can steamroll into big problems, as often seen during frustrating Bills seasons this century. Continual transgressions make it hard to demonstrate the desire to earn a giant deal after 2015 or live up to being third overall.

Dareus simply must be on his best behavior. The problem is he already should have been. As with planting a tree, the second-best time to start being upstanding is now.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.

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