Will Demetrius be Ready at the Bell?

By anello1960  |   Friday, February 19, 2010  |  Comments( 324 )

Buffalo Bills
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I must be the lone optimist when it comes to Bills OT Demetrius Bell. Not that he will contend for the pro bowl any time soon but I did see some quickness and eagerness when coming off the ball last year before he was injured. Also some steady improvement as the year progressed, granted the opener at New England was an easy mark to improve on as players were passing him like he was invisible. He was eager and quick but was always catching up or chasing the rushing defender. It seemed to me that he just did not know where to be, how to position himself or move and still maintain or even initiate blocking contact. There were some notable plays where he did open up some holes and bulled defenders forward allowing some nice runs. Pass blocking continued to be about a 50- 50 proposition, even against single coverage. Sure he had lots of false starts and other penalties and was leading the league in that category until he was injured. He was a raw, completely green player who never should have been put in that position in the first place.
This is a case where the organization really botched up on many levels and continued to compound the errors. It all started when former pro scouting director John Guy wielded a bigger sword than marketing GM Russ "Pants on Fire" Brandon or our beloved former coach Dick Jauron. In making a last ditch effort to keep the over-inflated, penalty prone sack allowing Langston Walker from damaging Guy's already damaged credibility, Guy insisted that Walker be the starting LT for 2009. Unfortunately, training camp saw Walker grossly under-performing and a "Dick's last stand" power play unseated the inflated Walker in favor of a not ready for prime time Demetrius Bell. Unfortunately, rating Bell as "not ready" is akin to saying Tiger Woods has commitment issues.
Bell played for (3) years in college at Northwestern (La.) State. He started off as a defensive lineman and switched to OL in his second year as team injuries mounted. Therefore when he was drafted by Buffalo in 2008, he had played only (2) years of football as an offensive lineman! Expecting him to perform as a starter in 2009 was a complete organizational and coaching fuck up beyond all recognition.
However, the kid who would not quit is an extreme worker who plays from snap to whistle on each and every down. His school of hard knocks life set in stone a permanent chip on his shoulder that eliminated the word "quit" from his vocabulary. While never officially acknowledged as the illegitimate son of NBA star Karl Malone, a DNA test confirmed his bloodline. Malone was 20 when he impregnated Bell's mother who was only age (13) at the time.
There is no doubt Bell has many years of hard work ahead of him just to properly learn the techniques of his position. As a highly coordinated athlete who excelled as a basketball player, his mobility as a big man (6ft-5, 305lbs) is rarely witnessed. He leaps from stance to position in a split second, often too quickly as the false start penalties were a frequent occurrence last year. His balance is also well above average for his position as he is rarely knocked down. I am personally pulling for the guy. The Bills did him a big favor by drafting him but an even bigger disservice by making him a starter so soon. For a player that began his football career at age (21) and was named first team all conference at age (23), he has overcome odds that few have ever been able to. With the right combination of strength and conditioning (add some bulk, become less injury prone) as well as continued exhaustive technique coaching and repetition we could see him return as a starter on the Bills line-in-development, which translates to an actual legitimate NFL OL backup player on most other squads. If he can make the leap to being a full fledged quality NFL backup LT next year, who among us could say he wouldn't become a legitimate starter the year after that? Before we crown him a future pro bowl lineman, let's see how he does this year and go from there. My take is that Bell can and will be ready to.
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