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Bills pass rusher Greg Rousseau aiming for 'next level': I want 'double-digit sacks'

Having doubled his sack output in 2022 from his rookie season despite playing in four fewer games, Buffalo Bills pass rusher Gregory Rousseau is setting his sights on another big jump in 2023.

"I want to get to that next level," Rousseau told The Buffalo News' Ryan O'Halloran. "Double-digit sacks."

Buffalo's burgeoning pass rusher turned promise into production at the top of the 2022 season when he posted five sacks through the Bills' initial seven games, but he was hobbled by an ankle injury sustained in Week 9 versus the New York Jets. Rousseau was sidelined for the following three weeks and veteran Von Miller was subsequently lost for the season with an injury of his own.

While headlines have been garnered by face of the franchise Josh Allen earning Madden poster-boy status and the saga of Stefon Diggs, the Bills defense should quietly be buoyed by the healthy returns of Rousseau and Miller if all goes to plan.

Rousseau believes he put forth a template of what to expect for himself going forward prior to his ankle injury.

"The way I started the year, that's how I envisioned playing," Rousseau said.

The No. 30 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft had 50 tackles, four sacks, eight tackles for loss and 10 QB hits in a 17-start rookie season. In 13 2022 starts, Rousseau racked up eight sacks, 14 QB hits, 10 tackles for loss and 37 tackles. Charting his improvement further, Rousseau garnered an impressive 83.6 overall grade from PFF last season following a 70.2 grade as a rookie.

Rousseau's development is all the more impressive considering it came while dealing with his ankle ailment. The 23-year-old admits it hampered him, but is quick to point out that's part of the rough-and-tumble world he's employed in.

"The whole second half (of the season), I was fighting back to get my ankle (to 100%)," Rousseau said. "It's part of the game. You have to fight through injuries and put it all on the line for your team."

In his mind, Rousseau already broke out last year, but there's still opportunity for more refinement and plenty of goals to achieve -- not the least of which tallying his first double-digit sack season.

"I really felt I did (break out) last year," he said. "I don't feel like I'm a new player trying to get my feet under me. I'm still hungry and humble and know there are ways for me to get better.

"You can never get stagnant or complacent. There is always something to work on. Once you're not trying to get better, something's (wrong)."

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