The Buffalo Bills have been playing defense with 10 men on the field. Defensive end Mario Williams has essentially quit on the team and his teammates have noticed. Ty Dunne of the Buffalo News recently talked with a few Bills players who voiced their displeasure in regards to Williams.
One anonymous Bills player told Dunne:
“It’s been clear to me that Mario doesn’t care about anybody but himself,” the anonymous player said. “He followed that up by not giving any effort during the season and complaining about the scheme instead of manning up and saying he played like crap and doesn’t care.”
When Dunne asked the player if Williams has checked out, the player responded, “Totally checked out.”
Williams was asked about the defensive scheme and the defensive end had the following to say:
“At the end of the day you just have to play what’s called and the position you’re in. You can’t do anything about it.”
Eric Wood, Buffalo’s starting center, wasn’t pleased with Williams’ comments and stated, “Everybody has to buy in or else we don’t have a shot.”
No player has voiced their displeasure more than Mario Williams this season and Rex Ryan addressed the criticism he has faced from his players this season.
"When you look at it, I’ve never had a negative…you know I’ve never been looked at as a problem," Ryan said. "So yeah I guess that would be…yeah that bothers me, no doubt about it.”
Williams has been the ring leader of the criticism and tomorrow Ryan can make a statement. Bench Mario Williams and send a message to the players. No one player is bigger than the team.
Williams effort isn’t there on the field. He’ll go through the motions and he’ll nudge offensive tackles with his shoulder but that’s all the effort you’re getting from “Super” Mario. Getting Williams off the field arguably could benefit the team. From a talent standpoint, there is no player who can come in and replace Mario Williams, but from an effort standpoint just about any reserve would be better.
Options according to the Buffalo Bills website include Lavar Edwards and IK Enemkpali. Edwards is a relatively new addition and Enemkpali truly hasn’t done much in his time with the Bills. That said, rotate between the duo and evaluate what you have for 2016. Having Williams standing on the sidelines in full uniform (in case of injury) watching the game can send a powerful message to Williams and every Bills player.
There is no chance of a Williams return in 2016 so this is Ryan’s one chance to make a statement to his team. Williams has been the No. 1 enemy of Rex Ryan in the locker room. By sitting the highly paid defensive end, Ryan will be cutting the head off of the snake so to speak. And when you cut the head off the snake, the body dies.
Winning the game on the field is important to Ryan on Sunday, but winning back the locker room is even more important for his future with the team. Make an example of Mario Williams and show the players what happens if they don’t buy into his scheme.