The Buffalo Bills have invested heavily into their defensive line as of late, even doubling down during the last draft with premium picks. They also still have dynamic edge rusher Jerry Hughes on the roster. So it may come as a surprise that Mario Addison led the team with seven sacks. Does that make him the best on the team, or is this the result of a defensive scheme that never seems to prioritize sacks in the first place? After all, this is arguably the best season for sacks in the McDermott era. The team finished 11th in total volume with 42 sacks (average), and sixth in sack percentage with 7.3%. Let’s check out some film and discuss.
Is there anything special at all on this clip? Mario Addison isn’t getting anywhere on the pass rush. This is what I mean when I say the Buffalo Bills don’t ever seem all that concerned with sack numbers. Addison seems to be keeping an eye on things and helping contain the play. At the pause, I counted it as three frames from the first hint that Taylor Heinicke is on the move. Addison is already on the move too.
Most of Addison’s pass rush consists of power-oriented moves. For this pause, Addison has pushed Charles Leno Jr. back far enough where there’s a trip hazard for the quarterback. Clearly on this play the power move worked.
Addison doesn’t have the same ceiling for finesse moves as he does the power game. In the games reviewed, stunts, spins, etc. were a lot less successful overall. He’s not awful, but to borrow from The Simpsons...
That’s not to say a more power style approach is one-dimensional. There are more techniques than the bull rush. Addison likes this move where he leans in with one arm fully extended. This adds a little length to the push, making it harder for his opponent to latch on. A single point of contact also creates an unstable connection, making it a bit wonky as the weight shifts. You can see on this play where that creates a break point and Addison is able to cut inside.
Yeah. The Bills put him in coverage on occasion. Just one way they try to create confusion.
Overall, I think Mario Addison does a good job with play recognition. This play isn’t a condemnation of the man. Rather, it’s a reflection that all players falter and sometimes all it takes is one mistake.
I like to end on a high note and this play goes much better. True, the run is much more obvious on this one as it’s a pretty straight up handoff. Addison takes a good angle and times this up well to be the first one to the tackle.
Mario Addison brings a veteran presence with play recognition/on-field intelligence being his greatest asset. Addison has some versatility, but not as much as some of his more youthful teammates. None of this is an insult. Buffalo could do a lot worse than Mario Addison and his team lead in sacks isn’t a fluke. That said, as the experience gap shrinks between Addison and the youth movement, his roster spot becomes more tenuous. Has the gap closed enough already? I wouldn’t be shocked if the Bills think it has.
- 2021 All-22 Review: Jerry Hughes
- 2021 All-22 Review: Mario Addison
- 2021 All-22 Review: Efe Obada
- 2021 All-22 Review: Gregory Rousseau, A.J. Epenesa, Boogie Basham
- Contract projection for Jerry Hughes
- Contract projection for Mario Addison
- Bills have young bodies to move on from Addison, Hughes but it’s a drop off
- Free agents for the Bills at DE
- 2022 NFL Draft prospects at defensive end
- Opinion: Bills should move on from aging DEs and draft a depth option