October 4, 2012
Bills fans Super mad at Mario Williams
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
TORONTO - The only North American pro athlete worthy of the lofty nickname “Super Mario” established his legacy while wearing skates, not cleats.
Long-suffering Buffalo Bills fans are learning that the hard way.
Indeed, if defensive end Mario Williams could ever leave a portion of the footprint on the western New York sporting landscape that hockey legend Mario Lemieux did on the Pittsburgh scene, they would erect a huge statue of him at Main and Filmore in downtown Buffalo.
Instead, his paltry 1 1/2 sacks through the first four games as a Bill have earned him the wrath of the Buffalo media and football faithful alike. In fact, Williams’ twitter account — @bbwolf94 — was besieged with examples of the public’s venom while he and the Bills were getting humiliated 52-28 on Sunday afternoon, none harsher than the following tweet from Kevin@TheOccultTruth:
“@bbwolf94 Your mom got more sack in my bedroom last night than you have in 4 games. No wonder the Texans let you walk ... 100 million EPIC fail.”
Harsh? Absolutely. In bad taste? Yes. Obscene? Definitely.
A sign of grinding bitterness? You bet.
Williams claimed this week that he can handle being slagged by the outside world, even when it might be such a below-the-belt shot via the twittersphere. In his mind, the person most frustrated with Mario Williams is Mario Williams.
“I couldn’t care less about criticism,” Williams said. “I care about what we do and I’m always angry. But I don’t show a lot of emotions.
“It’s not just football. I’m just not an emotional person that you see on the outside, but I’m pretty much always angry. If you know me, you know that.”
Whether you are paying attention to them or not, Mario, please know this: The fans are angry, too.
They are angry because they watched the Bills wine and dine you until you inked that six-year $100-million US contract, including $50 million guaranteed. All for a player who is on pace to record just six sacks this season.
They are angry because they hear you complain that an ailing left wrist is hindering your play. In their minds, how bad can your injury be compared to, say, the remarkable story of Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, who is starting for the Vikings just nine months after his knee was shredded?
And they are angry because they feel they should have heeded the warnings out of Houston when you signed. At that time, your reputation down in Texas was a guy who could dominate one game, be invisible the next, all the while constantly battling the injury bug.
The hope was that you would be another Bruce Smith. Now the fears are that you are another version of the Jevon Kearse who, in 2004, became a Philadelphia Eagle by signing an eight-year, $65-million contract with a $16-million signing bonus.
At that time, Kearse, like Williams did this past offseason, was awarded the most lucrative contract ever handed out to a defensive lineman. Unfortunately, the man known as The Freak spent too much time resembling The Meek, averaging just 51/2 sacks per season in Philly.
Of course, there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to analyzing Williams’ slow start.
The offence turns the ball over far too often, putting the fatigued defence back on the field too much. Williams and his fellow defensive lineman are also getting very little help from one of the weaker linebacking units in the league.
Lastly, defensive co-ordinator Dave Wannstedt has shown no imagination when it comes to using his $100-million man. Would it be too much to ask to turn Williams into the type of hybrid pass rusher who lines up in a different spot on every snap, thereby creating mismatches all over the line of scrimmage for the defence?
In crunching the numbers after reviewing the tape of the Pats game, reporter Joe Buscaglia of Buffalo radio station WGR discovered that Williams was all-out double-teamed on just one of the 69 snaps he played. While that doesn’t count the number of times he was chipped by a running back or tight end, it does show that WIlliams had playmaking opportunities that he didn’t exploit.
Williams claims his wonky wrist keeps him from securing onto offensive linemen when the ball is snapped.
Bills fans don’t want to hear such excuses. They want to see sacks.
And they have 100 million reasons why.
MATTY'S THE MAN
Matt Ryan’s early step toward an MVP award is being acknowledged by the league.
Ryan was named the NFC’s player for the month for the month of September by the league on Thursday. Truth be told, he’s been the top player in both conferences through the first four weeks of the season, tossing 11 touchdowns, just two interceptions and compiling a 112.1 passer rating en route to leading his Atlanta Falcons to a 4-0 start.
Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings won NFC Defensive Player of the Month with a league-best four interceptions, while Minnesota’s electrifying Percy Harvin was the conference’s top special teamer, thanks to a 38.3 yard kick return average.
In the AFC, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt copped the conference’s top defensive player honour. With 7.5 sacks through four games, Watt is on pace to record 30 this season, a total that would set an NFL record.
Cincinnati Bengals second-year wide receiver A.J. Green was named the month’s top offensive player in the AFC, thanks to 27 catches for 428 yards and three touchdowns.
Tennessee Titans receiver Darius Reynaud was the AFC’s special teams player of the month after leading the league with 408 kick return yards.
BREES PASSES HURDLE
After all this, Drew Brees had better set the NFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass on Sunday.
Brees has been granted his request to the NFL to have suspended Saints coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and linebackers coach Joe Vitt be at the Superdome to witness his attempt at tossing a scoring strike in a 48th consecutive game, a feat that would eclipse the 52-year-old mark held by Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas.
“I believe they are all going to come,” Brees told reporters in New Orleans on Thursday. “I haven’t had any contact with coach Payton or Mickey or Joe obviously, but I made that request in hopes that they would be able to be there. My assumption is they will be there.”
For his part, Vitt, who was suspended for the first six weeks of the season, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Thursday that he did not want to be a distraction and “would live by the letter of the suspension.”
Payton is suspended for the entire season while Loomis is suspended for the first eight games.
Brees will attempt to set the record against the San Diego
Chargers, his former team.
PACKED WITH CLASS
Mike McCarthy has taken the highest of roads when it comes to the NFL replacement official fiasco.
Despite the fact that referee Wayne Elliott now admits the famous Fail Mary play should have been ruled an interception, the man who wrongly signalled touchdown on the play said McCarthy, whose Green Bay Packers were screwed out of a victory as a result of the call, contacted him to offer support, not a piece of his mind.
“He called me at my house last week because he had heard I was having a rough week with all the calls and everything,” Elliott told HBO’s Showtime program. “Wanted (me) to know that he thought what I did — controversial and maybe he didn’t agree with it — (but he thought) I handled it with class.”
Asked if he could revise his decision on the play, which gave the Seattle Seahawks a victory in that game, Elliott said yes.
“I’d probably call interception. I learned a rule by screwing up the rule,” he said.
That’s hardly any consolation for the Packers or their loyal fans.
But at least the Packers coach has handled the entire mess with class.
WIDEOUTS ARE ... OUT
No Hakeem Nicks. No Greg Jennings.
Week 5 of the NFL season certainly will be lacking a couple of the league’s marquee wideouts out on the field.
Nicks will not be in uniform when his New York Giants play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The veteran receiver has been out since Week 2 with a knee injury.
Meanwhile, a nagging groin injury will keep Jennings out of the Green Bay Packers lineup when they clash with Andrew Luck’s Indianapolis Colts. Jennings made just one catch in a victory over the Saints last weekend, one that went for a touchdown.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has lashed back at his critics who don’t like his towel-over-the-head act on the sidelines when things are going bad. “Do I take (losing) personal? Absolutely right. Do I take it too personal? Who knows? But I’d rather take it too personal than lackadaisical,” Newton told the Charlotte Observer ... According to CBS.com, the St. Louis Rams allowed running back Steven Jackson to void the final year of his contract even though he didn’t reach certain incentives. Jackson was scheduled to make $7 million next year.