New Buffalo Bills edge rusher Mario Addison had a pretty normal-feeling zoom press conference on Friday before practice.
He spoke about getting to know his new teammates in Buffalo during a pandemic after seven seasons in Carolina. How each member of the team’s defensive line is motivating each other on the field with every rep. And even shed some light on how coach Sean McDermott aggressively rotating the d-line to get everyone on the same page with less time to prepare for the season.
But when former teammate Cam Newton’s name was mentioned near the end of the session, Addison couldn’t help but smile when he was asked whether he’s looking forward to finally getting a chance to hit the New England Patriots quarterback.
Addison stroked his beard a few times and joked that he wanted to get it just right before he replied.
“To answer that question: hell yeah,” Addison said. “I’ve gotta add Cam to my sack list, man. I’ve been playing alongside him for years. At practice I couldn’t get too close to him. So now it’s time for me to capitalize on Cam Newton whenever I get the chance.”
Newton and the rest of the quarterbacks in the AFC East are going to have a lot to deal with when they face the Bills pass rush in 2020. If early indications from training camp are correct, Buffalo’s deep rotation on the line is getting ready to unleash havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
Addison was exceptional on Tuesday during the team’s second padded practice of camp. He was winning individual matchups and getting into the backfield with regularity. He said that it doesn’t matter much what combination is on the field because the Bills have talent from top to bottom on their roster at each d-line position.
“One thing about this d-line is we got depth,” he said. “Like the ones are good, the twos are good, the threes are good. Coach is doing a great job with mixing everybody up with each other. It ain’t just the ones that’s rolling. It’s the twos that are rolling with the ones, ones rolling with the twos. And some of the threes rolling with the ones and threes rolling with the twos. So he’s doing a great job of filling each other.
“We won’t have to rely on four pass rushers – everybody is pass rushers on this d-line. And that’s a great feeling. I’m already feeling at home already with the guys I’ve been rolling with. And I damn near rolled with everybody so far, and everybody’s rolling.”
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Addison, 32, entered familiar territory when he signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Bills in March. He played for McDermott in Carolina and that’s where he feels most comfortable.
The Panthers switched to a 3-4 defense last year and Addison became a stand up edge rushing on the outside. But he provides the flexibility to switch inside to defensive tackle, too, like most of his teammates on the line.
With so many different players on the line that can multiple things, Addison said it creates competition.
“We always gonna push each other – that’s the name of the game: compete, compete, compete. And to make each other better,” he said. “These guys, they made me elevate my game. I made a couple guys elevate their game. I like it that way.
“When you see a guy that’s out there real smooth doing their thing, I’m like, ‘OK, OK, he moving well. He’s doing his thing. He’s stabbing, he’s spinning. I like that.’ So that made me elevate my game. And when they see an older guy like me coming off the edge, flying, they’re like, this guy can move.”
Addison is quite a story after going undrafted in 2011 out of Troy. He’s developed into a high end pass rusher who’s notched at least nine sacks in each of the last four seasons. Young rushers like Darryl Johnson (seventh round pick) and Mike Love (UDFA) can watch Addison and see a path to success in the league. The veteran is more than willing to help share his secret to success, too.
“It’s not about what round you get drafted, it’s about the opportunity that you get and production,” he said. “You can get drafted first round, second round, third round – if you don’t produce in this league, you’ll find yourself out. So for me it’s just a testimony, and I always hold on to it because it’s who I am.”
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