Mark Anderson is at the point in his NFL career where training camp can seem like a burden. When you talk with the former University of Alabama standout, and watch him play, the seventh year veteran is eager to prove himself as if he were an undrafted rookie.
“It’s a new team, new season, it is kind of like I am a rookie all over again,” said Anderson, who finished with 10 sacks for New England last season. “I’m out here having fun.”
Anderson was brought in to help rejuvenate a Bills pass rush that recorded 29 sacks last season. Only two teams in the league finished with fewer sacks.
He was part of a continued overhaul of Buffalo’s defensive line that included the signing of Mario Williams, the top defensive free agent this spring. Anderson and Williams have 88 1/2 career sacks between them.
“I think defensive line is going to do well,” Anderson said. “One of my goals is for everybody to be successful. I hope everyone has a great season.”
Thanks to Anderson and Williams the Bills possess arguably one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, which also includes Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. The free agent signings of Anderson and Williams means the Bills can play a 4-3, giving control to a line that should be the strength of the team.
Anderson’s performance on the defensive line could set the table for the rest of the defense, which includes a pair of young cornerbacks in rookie Stephon Gilmore and second-year player Aaron Williams.
“I think we are all encouraged by what they are doing,” Dareus said about Anderson and Mario Williams.
“Obviously the great players have made a lot of plays in the past. (We) added them to our defense and we are glad to have them. We are just taught about building every day and we still have a long way to go until we get to September but we are getting there.”
Anderson signed with Buffalo in the offseason following one year with the Patriots where he had his second highest sack and tackle (29) total in his career.
Anderson eagerly awaits a return to the field. The last time he played was the Super Bowl, where his Patriots lost to the Giants. It was a tough ending to an outstanding postseason where he recorded two sacks and 11 tackles.
“It is a blessing,” Anderson said about getting to play on the defensive line. “All of these guys are Pro Bowl guys. They play hard, and it seems like it is unfair.”
Anderson bounced back in 2011 following a rocky four-year stretch.
He recorded 13 sacks from 2007 to 2010, a tremendous drop off after recording 12 sacks in his rookie season with the Bears. Anderson started the 2010 season with the Bears, but was released in October and signed by the Texans.
Page 2 of 2 - He was signed by the Patriots before the start of last season.
“That goes back to Buddy (Nix’s) and mine feeling about guys. Do not judge them for where they were, what they have not done or what they were pegged to do,” said Chan Gailey, Bills head coach.
“Judge them on what they did. He had a great year last year. He played extremely well and was looking for another home. We were glad that he chose this place. We were fortunate to get him and really glad to have him. He is going to be a big, big part of our defense.”