A Pro Bowl Vote for Marcell Dareus is a vote for the American Spirit


As most Tide fans know, Marcell Dareus was the lovable big guy who was a big time player for the Tide during his time in Tuscaloosa. His most notable game being the 2010 BCS Championship Game against Texas to determine the champions of the 09 season. Dareus knocked Colt McCoy out of the game early, and later on had a pick six. Yeah, the big DT had a pick six against Texas in a National Title Game, go figure.

While Bama fans have fond memories of Dareus, the rest of the country may not know as much about Marcell. What they do know is that he was selected third overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. There had been talk of Dareus going second to Denver, or maybe even first to Carolina, but they ultimately chose Von Miller and Cam Newton respectively. Dareus had a solid rookie campaign, notching 5.5 sacks in his first professional season. Not jaw dropping numbers, but for a rookie DL in the NFL, they were solid. The problem was that people unfairly expected more. People acted as if he had failed, and while I’m sure Marcell would be the first to admit he could have done this or that better, we need to understand that the guy was a rookie. Was he selected third overall? Yes, but it isn’t fair to anyone to put such expectations on a rookie, especially an interior player. He isn’t an edge rusher folks, DTs usually get less sacks than the rush backers of the world.

In Marcell’s second season as a Bill, he again notched 5.5 sacks. While decent, he wasn’t a rookie anymore, and I think that before the season it was definitely fair to expect, say, 7.5 or 8 from the former number 3 overall pick, especially considering he had Kyle Williams and Mario Williams playing with him to create more one on one opportunities. One thing most of the nation overlooks is that Dareus’ brother died during the season, and it isn’t fair to ask him to just forget it and move on. There is leaving your personal life at the door and then there is being down right evil and asking someone to forget that his brother is gone. There is no doubt that Marcell played with a heavy heart during his second year, and some people may say that he wasn’t meeting expectations, but I personally believe he deserved a pass for that one.

Now, we are here. Two games to go in the 2013 season, and Dareus and his Bills are sitting at 5-9, virtually eliminated from playoff contention. It isn’t to say they haven’t put up a fight. The Bills lead the league in sacks, and Marcell has been a big part of that. The third year player has banged home 8 sacks this season, and even then that number is deceiving thanks to a few .5 sacks. Add in the hurries and hits he has had, and you’ll have a hard time finding an interior pass rusher better than Dareus this season. But it is more than that for #99. His work against the run has been elite all year. This time last year people thought Dareus just couldn’t give much to a run defense, but he is among the best in the league this year, and is 7 defensive stops away from having the most by a DT since 2008. The all around Tackle has emerged as a dominant, yes a DOMINANT force on the Bills defense, and it largely goes unnoticed. But the good news is that Dareus has surged ahead in Pro Bowl voting, and he may be punching his ticket soon if he finishes strong.

But this shouldn’t be left to chance. After what he went through a year ago, Dareus deserves a Pro Bowl bid. To turnaround and have a season like this, one where his work against the pass and run are elite, that is the American Spirit we all know and love. To fight back from a painful loss to become one of the best of his craft, that is something all the kids should hear about. Something every man should look up to. And I’m here to not buy our vote for Marcell with money or promises of a free T-Shirt, but knowing that you helped send that man, who embodies the American Spirit, to his first Pro Bowl.

Vote for Dareus to the Pro Bowl here: http://www.nfl.com/probowl/ballot