ORCHARD PARK — In many ways, Kyle Williams is a throwback guy in a modern game.
At age 29, in his seventh season, the Bills’ defensive tackle is strictly old-school NFL when it comes to character, effort and motivation to win.
And, from a media standpoint, it doesn’t hurt that he’s the best talker in Buffalo’s locke room ... repeatedly dispensing wisdom and introspection.
And so it was on Wednesday afternoon when he was questioned about the Bills’ seemingly improved defensive effort in Sunday’s 21-9 loss at Houston.
“IT’S NOT good enough,” he said incredulously. “I don’t know how you justify something is better when you lose ... obviously, it’s not good enough when you lose.”
What spawned the query was that, after surrendering an average of 424 yards over the first seven games, Buffalo reduced that to 374 against Houston and a unit that was giving up a league-worst 177 rushing yards a game, reduced that to 118 against the Texans.
Still Buffalo fell to 3-5, is last in the NFL in average yards per rush and stopping third downs and second from the bottom in points, rushing yards, passing yards and total yards allowed per game.
In short, Buffalo’s supposedly upgraded ‘D’ has been abysmal the first half of this season.
“No matter how many yards you give up — how you play as an individual — it’s never good enough when you lose,” Williams said.
“Yeah, there were fewer yards (surrendered against Houston), but there were plays here or there where this job should have been taken care of ... where we should have played it better. We gave up more than 100 yards after contact last week ...missed tackles (12-15 according to the coaches’ film breakdown) or bouncing off of tackles, run or pass.”
AND WILLIAMS feels that’s guilt which should be felt by every Buffalo defender.
“I think there’s accountability from young to old ... old to young,” he said. “We don’t pull a lot of punches. We have to hold each other accountable to what our standard is ... but, more importantly, you have to have a standard yourself.
“How am I going to be viewed ... as a guy who’s a good player, who plays hard and gives it up every play, not only for my teammates, but also the coaches, the organization, the fans?”
He added, “There’s accountability in our room — we’re pretty tough on each other — but there has to be higher standard than that ... what’s your accountability to yourself, what’s your standard?
“That’s what motivates and pushes guys in this league, if you don’t have a high standard for yourself, it doesn’t matter what other guys do. You can push and poke and prod and call guys out all you want ... it’s not going to work.”
AND MOTIVATION isn’t affected by where a player is taken in the draft and how much he makes.
“You look at the history of drafts and (the high picks) are kind of put out in the forefront and this guy gets a lot of money and he didn’t produce and didn’t play,” Williams said. “But the draft is what it is ... it’s always been kind of a crapshoot. Is this guy going to be a good player or not ... we don’t know, he has the tools, but...”
He knows the drill.
Williams, who has made the Pro Bowl twice after being taken in the fifth round of the 2006 draft, with a pick Buffalo got from Houston in a trade for Eric Moulds, has seen his share of busts with the Bills.
On the defensive line alone, there were first-round tackle John McCargo (’06), third-round end Chris Ellis (’08), first-round end Aaron Maybin (’09) and second-round tackle Torell Troup (’10).
“It all comes back to the standard for yourself ... what do you want to be viewed as,” Williams said. “If you’re out here playing for money and so that everybody knows your name, you’re probably not going to make it very long.
“I was talking to (defensive coordinator Dave) Wannstedt and he mentioned (Washington offensive lineman) Russ Grimm’s Hall of Fame speech (in which) he said the greatest joy was taking a man from Point A to Point B against his will. If that’s not what you’re getting your kicks out of playing this game, you’re probably not going to last long and you’re probably not going to enjoy it.”
(Chuck Pollock, the Times Herald sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)