Dareus joins Jaguars, says ‘it feels good to be wanted’
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Marcell Dareus has a new team, a new city, a new home and a new outlook.
“It feels good to be wanted,” Dareus said Monday following his first practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars traded a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft to Buffalo on Friday in exchange for Dareus, a two-time Pro Bowl selection with an impressive resume and a checkered past. Dareus is getting a fresh start in Jacksonville. The Jaguars (4-3) believe they’re getting a key cog to potentially fill their biggest defensive need.
“I’m excited to be here,” Dareus said. “New city, new surroundings, I’m just happy to be with these guys. They’ve been playing fairly well. I’m just glad to help out in any way I can.”
Dareus said he learned about the trade while going over the game plan for Oakland. Instead, he flew to Jacksonville, met with the coaching staff and got ready for his first practice with his new team.
“I still haven’t gotten over it,” he said. “I’m still in shock. I’m shocked for the trade. I’m shocked for this defense, this team.”
The Jaguars are allowing a league-high 5.16 yards a carry and rank last in rushing defense (138.6 yards a game).
The 6-foot-3, 330-pound Dareus takes up a lot of space in the middle of a D-line. He’s played nose guard and defensive tackle and, at times, has moved outside. Jaguars defensive ends Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue are among the league leaders in sacks, but the interior of the line has been vulnerable to opposing teams’ running attacks.
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone, who coached Dareus for two years in Buffalo, thinks Dareus has the talent to help the Jaguars in that area.
“It’s an opportunity for us to try and get better,” Marrone said. “We’ve struggled at times against the run, and I think he’s going to be able to help our defense that way. I was very happy with the things that I saw (in him). Right now, we’re just trying to get him acclimated.”
Linebacker Telvin Smith welcomed the defense’s newest addition.
“I’ve seen a lot of people say it and I’m going to steal it: We won the bye week.” Smith said. “That’s definitely an upgrade for our defense. It definitely adds depth to our defense. ... That’s going to be a crazy rotation, so definitely looking forward to adding another head to this monster.”
Dareus started 85 of 91 games with the Bills and has 35 sacks, though only one in five games this season. His best year was under Marrone in 2014, when he finished with a career-best 10 sacks and was a first-team All-Pro selection. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2014.
Dareus has had issues off the field, missing a number of games because of bad decisions. He was suspended four games in 2015 for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. The previous season he was banned one game. He also was sent home before the Bills’ final preseason game in August for unspecified reasons.
Marrone benched Dareus for the first quarter of a 2014 game against Miami, reportedly for being late to team meetings throughout the season. Marrone said he expects Dareus has learned from his mistakes.
“We’re all at risk — myself, everybody,” Marrone said. “At the end of the day, some people get themselves in situations and you hope that they learn from it. If they don’t, then obviously there are consequences. That’s the same for all the players.”