According to Chris Brown of Bills.com, the NFL has suspended Buffalo Bills star defensive tackle Marcell Dareus for this year’s regular season opener against the Indianapolis Colts for violating the league’s substance abuse policy:
Sep 8, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (99) during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Patriots beat the Bills 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
It’s a pretty big loss for Buffalo’s defensive line, even if it’s just for a game, because Dareus is a 2x Pro Bowler and was a 1st-time All-Pro last season for the Bills. In fact, per the advanced grades provided by ProFootballFocus (subscription), Dareus received a +25.6 grade overall, which was the 4th best among all defensive tackles. Perhaps even most impressive was that his +20.7 grade against the run was the best out of all defensive tackles.
One has to think that somewhere, Frank Gore and his interior offensive line are breathing a sigh of relief right now. Nevertheless, the Buffalo Bills figure to have a stout front-seven even without Dareus, as they still feature stalwarts like Jerry Hughes (remember him?), sackmaster Mario Williams, and Kyle Williams up front.
There’s a strong chance that one team in the Colts will be happy with the results of the suspension, and that there’s another that could be whining, yet again. While Dareus will be missing the opener against the Colts, he’ll be coming back just in time for Week 2 against none other than the New England Patriots. It’s funny how things work out sometimes.
Still, with or without Dareus, the Colts will have to expect to play against a strong Buffalo Bills defense on the road. It’s just that there may be more open running lanes for Gore, and the run blocking may be a bit easier without having the 6’3″, 331 pound Dareus wreaking havoc in the interior.
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