Marcell Dareus having a sophomore slump?

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
5:30
PM ET
It's a dreaded term you hear often in the NFL: sophomore slump.

It happens to a lot of players. Talented rookies come out the gate fast with a lot to prove. Then, teams get film and put more focus on stopping those players. A successful rookie year also can lead to complacency.

Is the infamous sophomore slump hindering Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus?

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft showed promise in his rookie season. But Dareus hasn't made many big plays for Buffalo's 31st-ranked defense. Dareus has 16 tackles and two sacks in eight games. Most pertinent for Dareus, Buffalo also is 31st against the run, allowing 169.5 rushing yards per game.

Dareus is working through tough family circumstances this season, and perhaps that's impacted his play. But Buffalo was counting on Dareus and its talented defensive line to dominate opponents this year. Instead, it’s the Bills’ defense that’s been dominated. The Bills have been pushed around and Dareus’ sophomore slump thus far is one of the reasons. He needs to be more dominant in the middle.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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