Buffalo Bills: Aaron Williams expects team to have NFL’s best defense


Aaron Williams represents the positive vibe on the Buffalo Bills defense

The Buffalo Bills are a confident bunch on defense, and why wouldn’t they be? Last season, they made superstar quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning look like mere mortals.

More from Buffalo Bills News

By the end of the campaign, the Bills had the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense, both in terms of points and yards allowed. In 2015, they expect to be at least as good as – if not better than – a year ago.

Along those lines, it’s no surprise to hear Aaron Williams rave about his defensive teammates. As he told Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News: “Honestly, if we don’t have the No. 1 defense this year, it was a failure in my mind and that’s everybody’s mindset.”

The strong safety goes on to acknowledge a lot of teams likely say the same thing. However, he thinks they’re all talk: “They’re probably just saying that to be positive or have that encouragement, whatever.”

On the other hand, Williams and the Bills genuinely believe their hype: “This team and this building and this locker room and this staff, we know that if this defense is not number one, it was definitely a failure.”

For his part, the strong safety, who underwent offseason hip surgery to repair a torn labrum, still has a lot to prove. According to Pro Football Focus, he only ranked as the 70th best safety out of the 87 who qualified last season.

Nov 30, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end Jim Dray (81) catches a pass as Buffalo Bills free safety Aaron Williams (23) defends during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills won 26-10. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

However, don’t think Williams isn’t a key component in a secondary, which helped the Bills finish with the third-best pass defense in 2014. As Carucci points out, he has a firm understanding of head coach Rex Ryan’s new scheme, and is entrenched as a starter.

This is extremely important, as the Bills prepare for the regular season. The San Jose, California native is in charge of communicating with the rest of the secondary, including rookie Ronald Darby, who will see increased playing time during the absence of the injured Leodis McKelvin.

As Williams said: “It’s Darby that I really have to kind of work with, because I want him to understand how I play and how I communicate with my other corners as well.

“He’s definitely getting more playing time, which allows me to communicate more with him and allows him to see how I play and allows me to see how he plays.”

More from BuffaLowDown

The secondary will be placed under even more pressure this year. They will be asked to play more single coverage, as a result of Ryan’s blitz-heavy schemes.

However, the 2011 second round draft pick is ready for the challenge: “It’s straight, man-to-man. Who’s the best? Who has that dog in him? Who has the attitude of getting the ball first?”

There is no denying that the defensive line, a.k.a. “the cold front”, can make the job easier for Williams and the rest of the secondary. However, it works both ways, with Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes also looking for some help.

As Williams told Carucci: “I feel like the core of the whole thing is us in the backfield, covering guys, giving those guys a lot more time to get to the quarterback.”

While the defensive line gets the majority of the press, they’re the first to acknowledge it’s a team game. And that’s what’s most important.

Williams said: “It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks on the outside…But what respects me is the guys come to us and say, ‘Hey, without you guys, we wouldn’t be the ‘Cold Front’ that we are.’

“Hearing Kyle and Mario and them say that, give us praise, that’s all that matters…it’s a team thing, and they understand that and they tell us that.”

With a mutual respect among the players, it’s easy to understand the positive vibe, which can only help the defense – and the team – as a whole. Opposing quarterbacks, consider yourselves warned.

Next: Where's Ryan Fitzpatrick when you need him?