We wrote a fairly lengthy article about Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Jay Ross today, necessitated by the fact that he continues to see first-team reps on defense following a healthy dose of the same during the spring months. Part of the reason Ross has had that opportunity? An ongoing situation surrounding third-year defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.
WGR 550's Joe Buscaglia pointed out on Sunday evening that Dareus was barely involved in one-on-one blocking drills between the offensive and defensive lines, and was only taking one in three first-team reps during the team portions of practice. The cause of his appearing limited? We're still not sure, but it's apparently not his health.
"I'm healthy as a rock," Dareus told ESPN.com's Mike Rodak on Monday. "Believe me, with our strength coaches, you're not going to be out here if you're not in shape."
If it's not his health, then what's holding Dareus back? The most likely answer seems to be the coaching staff, but that still doesn't account for an actual reason. Is it the fact that he missed (at least) a week of practices during the spring for personal reasons? Has Ross simply been that impressive? Or should we legitimately be worried about Dareus' pro prospects as he enters his third season as a pro, as well as his prospects as a starting Bills defensive lineman in 2013?
Once the hubbub about Mario Williams' sore foot dies down, we may hear a lot more about this. For now, it's safe to assume that rumors of Dareus' starting job not being set in stone are more than just rumors.