Orchard Park, N.Y. (WKBW release) The Buffalo Bills on Wednesday announced that they have signed free agent defensive end Mark Anderson.
Anderson posted 10.0 sacks and 28 tackles (23 solo) in 2011 for New England and added 2.5 quarterback takedowns in three postseason games. He has recorded 35.5 sacks and 163 tackles (122 solo) in 93 games with 21 starts while with Chicago (2006-10), Houston (2010) and the Patriots (2011). The 6-4, 255-pound Alabama product entered the NFL as a fifth-round (159th overall) draft pick by Chicago in 2006.
The following are comments from Anderson, along with Bills general manager Buddy Nix and coach Chan Gailey.
General Manager Buddy Nix Opening Remarks:
We’ve got a new pass rusher added to our defense. It really is a big deal for us and an exciting time. We think this made us a lot better. This guy’s about as productive as anybody around for the number of snaps he played. He’s been in rotation some but he’s a pass rusher. He’s had a lot of visits and a lot of offers and I think he made his choice because he wants to put his hand on the ground and rush the passer and that’s what we’re looking for. So let me introduce our newest addition, Mark Anderson.
Mark Anderson Opening Statement:
First of all I’d like to thank God for this opportunity. I worked hard and I couldn’t have done it without him. I’m just thankful for Ralph Wilson for giving me the opportunity to come play here for this great organization. It’s a great college atmosphere. The fans are great and the coaches are great. I’m very thankful and I’m very happy right now. Words can’t express how I’m feeling.
Mark Anderson Question & Answer
On what he liked about Buffalo and why he chose the Bills:
That’s a good question because when you think of Buffalo you think of a nice, small blue collar town. The fans are great. When I was waiting at the airport I had fans coming up to me, a lot of fans with Buffalo Bills hats. A lot of them came up to me and asked about my free agent visit. I thought that was amazing that they keep up with everything that goes on around the league with this organization. I just love the whole college atmosphere and I feel that it’s what you need. You need that type of support in order to be successful in this league.
On how much DE Mario Williams had to do with him signing with the Bills:
He played a big part but I knew Mario in Houston. I knew the type of guy he was. He played a big part. The whole defensive line played a big part, the coaching staff and the team. I’ve seen how hard the team worked last year. They were close. They had a few injuries along the way. Everyone seems like they’re back and ready to go. I’m just happy to be part of this organization.
On what went right last year in New England during his breakout year:
It was confidence. Bill (Belichick) and that whole organization had confidence in me to come in and do what I do which is to rush the passer and be a playmaker for the team. I worked real hard with everything I had to do. Everything just gelled at the right time. Like I said, I thank God for everything. I’m in a blessed situation right now. I’m going to try and help the Bills and the Bills nation right now and try and take it to a whole other level.
On why his other seasons in the league weren’t as productive as his rookie and 2011 season:
It was just maturing. I had to grow up as a player. My role changed as the year progressed. I had to learn the game more. Coming in as a rookie I was out there going off of pure talent and athleticism. As the years went along I matured along the way. I had great coaches break down different responsibilities to me and different situations that I would be put in as a defensive end. Like I said, as the years went along I matured and I was able to adapt and understand what works and what doesn’t work in this league and what’s best for me as a pass rusher.
On his development as a pass rusher:
When I say I was a straight pass rusher or whatever. It comes from maturity and just being in the league you understand what moves are working and what moves work for you, what offensive tackles have problems with, a lot of hard work in the offseason, a lot of film study, a lot of getting with coaches doing the extra work, seeing what works best for me and just applying it to my game. I was able to come up with counter moves and different moves like that that work for me. That’s how I was able to get back to that 12 sack season as a rookie.
On the growing process of a pass rusher in this league:
It takes time. You’ve got to put in the work. Whenever stuff comes easy it’s always negative that follows that. You have to always put in work. You’ve got to always be willing to put in that time and the effort, doing the little things that it takes to be successful.
On what his role will be in the defense and what appealed to him so much:
It’s just the whole team. The whole team in general. Everybody has the winning attitude. The offense did a great job last year in my eyes looking and watching film. The defense, the defensive line you have Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus coming up the middle and pushing the pocket. Then you have Mario (Williams) on the other side, Kelsay (Chris). You have Shawne Merriman, Nick Barnett, all those guys can play ball. That’s just something that I felt I want to be a part of so I can contribute the best I can.
On what Bills players he talked to during his visit:
I talked to Mario (Williams). He and I have a pretty good relationship. And I talked to Nick Barnett as well. I’ve met him over the years and I’ve been watching him play as well. Those are the only two guys mainly. Just watching film when I was with other teams and we were watching everybody, going against other teams, I’ve seen everything that they (Bills) were doing and I just want to be a part of that. I felt like it’s something that I want to be a part of. Everybody works hard and that’s something that I pride myself on.
On taking his game to a whole other level during last season’s playoffs:
I was given the opportunity to take on that starting role and to get more reps, and to be more productive on the field. I was just blessed that I was put in a great situation. I made sure that when I stepped on the field that I made the most of every opportunity. That’s what I’m planning to do coming to Buffalo.
Buddy Nix Question & Answer
On what he likes about Anderson:
From the start we had him high on our list as far as free agents. If he in fact did hit the market, I think athletic ability, his quickness off the edge. He’s got that burst and he’s also got enough ability and good enough feet to play the run. He’s not as big as a lot of them. He weighs 255 or 256. He plays with good leverage, got good feet, don’t get reach, can set the edge. All those things we looked at, our coaches looked at. We all feel good about it.
On what he saw from Anderson’s play in 2011 that it was a one-year performance:
I think ability. I think he explained it well that all of them go through a learning process. I think he found out that he was probably playing strictly on ability the first year and then he progressed, and you take a dip some. But he’s very athletic. He’s got the ability and we think his good years are still to come.
On if he sees the perception of Buffalo changing with the signing of Anderson and Mario Williams:
I think sometimes we tend to believe that it’s going to be harder than it is to get them to come here. I think sometimes you don’t go after the top guys and I ‘m saying that, I hope that’s not the case. I’ll say this to you: the reason we’re doing more now is the guys that we like that are out there. There’s been some guys that just didn’t fit in free agency, some older guys whose careers were on the decline and that’s not the market we’re in. We’re in (for) these young guys that are on the rise. And I think that’s part of the reason for this year being like it is.
On if he has had any contact with former Bills DE Aaron Schobel:
You mean other than social?
On if he has had talks with Schobel about returning:
Absolutely not, no. Playing with us? No. He’s retired I know. Where is this coming from? (laughing) Aaron Schobel is in the past with us from that camp the first year I was here. He’s a good guy, I like talking to him but no.
On where he sees the future for Shawne Merriman and Chris Kelsay with the recent signings:
It just seems they got competition, really. And that’s what we’re trying to do at every position. Chan’s philosophy and ours is to put as many good players as we can at each position and let the best ones start and play.
Chan Gailey Question & Answer
On what he likes about Anderson’s play:
I’m only going to echo of what was just said. He’s got some speed and quickness off the edge which is hard to find. He has savvy about his play. You could see him continue to get better this past year and he was tough to block for us, so that was one of the things that we saw. And I think sometimes guys get labeled as certain kinds of guys and you try to take labels off of guys. He’s not just a pass rusher. He’s a guy that can play all three downs, so that was another thing that I think really interested us that he wasn’t a specialty player. He’s got the capabilities of being an every down player which is something that we like.
On if he sees Anderson playing at right or left defensive end:
Don’t put us in a corner there yet about where everyone’s going to be. We’ve got some good football players and we’re going to make sure the best football players get on the field. That’s the most important thing.
On if he will rotate Anderson heavily on plays with him getting in on about 50 percent of plays last season:
Again, don’t put me in a box there. Let’s get to the season, see where everybody is, see the health of everybody and see how it works in camp and then the preseason games. We’ll have a much better idea of where we are.
DT Kyle Williams Comments on the addition of Mark Anderson
On the addition of Mark Anderson:
I think at the end of the day you can never have enough good players, number one. He’s been a productive guy every where you’ve seen him play. I’m glad to have him.
On if he has any knowledge of DE Mark Anderson:
We were in school at the same time. I remember playing him at Alabama when he was in school. We actually played at the Senior Bowl together. He’s a good pass rusher, tenacious guy that’s going to get after the quarterback. Like I said before, you can never have too many guys that can make plays, not just tackles here and there but guys that can get after the quarterback and create some things. You put him our room with all the guys we have now, he’s going to do good.
On his impressions of how the off season is going so far for Buffalo and how things look for the future:
I think with Buddy Nix and Coach Gailey and Coach Wannstedt; they’ve gone on and identified spots where they’ve felt like we needed to get better. Moving into a new defense, add some top level talent, add some depth and do some different things. I think it’s all about winning I think that’s all you can say about it. I think it’s all about winning at this point and those guys are going to help us do it.