Jets O-line's task: stopping Bills' Super Mario
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Super Mario is back, and the New York Jets
are well aware.
They've watched the game film. Several times.
Mario Williams was all over the place in a dominant performance in the
Buffalo Bills' win over the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. He had a
franchise record 4½ sacks, and looked very much like the game-changing
force Buffalo has expected him to be since signing him to a huge deal
"He's one of those dual-type defensive ends who has it all," Jets right
tackle Austin Howard said Thursday. "He has speed and can get your edge
pretty good with his speed and athleticism, and at the same time, he's
really strong, so he can get you really good with a power move."
That's been the book on Williams throughout his career, including his
first six NFL seasons with Houston when he made two Pro Bowl teams and
was one of the league's most feared defensive players.
"God touched this guy," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "Like, gave him
unbelievable gifts. He's got the height, the size, the length, the
arms, the speed. That's kind of what jumps out.
"And he plays hard, he's smart."
Buffalo made him the NFL's first $100 million defensive player before
last season, and the expectations skyrocketed. He had 10½ sacks, which
wasn't too shabby, but he wasn't as effective as the Bills imagined,
and a wrist injury didn't help matters. With a new defensive
coordinator in Mike Pettine this season, Williams seems to be pretty
Bad news for the Jets, and the rest of the Bills' opponents.
"I think he's a very good football player all around," Bills coach Doug
Marrone said. "I tend not to try to label him as an elite pass rusher.
I think he's an excellent pass rusher. I think he plays very well
against the run and is really a complete player for us who can do a lot
Howard will likely draw much of the assignment to block Williams,
although the Bills move him all around the line. Howard and the rest of
the Jets' offensive line did a solid job against Williams last season,
holding him without a sack. Williams also managed just four total
tackles in the two games, and Howard said the line will review the film
of those games, too.
The Bills star did, however, claim that Howard was blocking him
illegally while using his hands to Williams' face. Howard said he
didn't remember too much about the allegations, but knew that he wasn't
called for a penalty for doing any of that.
"We know the challenge we face for this weekend," Howard said. "We're
not naive to it. You never know how good you are until you go out there
and get tested, so we're not going to shy away from any challenge."
Williams is just a piece — a major one, of course — of the Bills' big
defensive line that includes Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Alex Carrington.
"They're a physical outfit," right guard Willie Colon said. "We've got
a lot of physical matchups coming up ahead, so it's important that we
start getting the mentality and start setting the tone that when we hit
the field, we've got to be the most physical team. The most physical
team normally wins the game.
"That needs to be us."
The Jets showed some feistiness last Thursday night at New England when
Colon and left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson were ejected for their
roles in a sideline skirmish. It started when center Nick Mangold dived
low at Aqib Talib, who intercepted Smith to seal the victory.
Ferguson appeared to take a swing at a Patriots player, and Colon got
into it with another player and also made contact with an official.
Both Ferguson and Colon said they have been fined by the league for
their actions, but wouldn't reveal the cost. A person familiar with the
situation told The Associated Press that Colon was fined $34,125. The
person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hadn't yet
announced the fine.
Mangold said he had "cautious optimism" Thursday because he hadn't yet
heard from the NFL.
"I saw Nick and Brick over there in a scuffle, saw a wave of Patriots
and my initial reaction was to go help them out, and help my brothers,"
Colon said. "I'm always going to play like that, and obviously, it
costs me a lot of money to play like that.
"But we've got to stand for something."
NOTES: Ryan downplayed a report that backup
QB Matt Simms has lots of support in the organization and could replace
Smith if the rookie struggles. "I think there's a lot of guys that like
Simms, I don't think there's any doubt," Ryan said. "But to say as our
starting quarterback? I don't see that. Again, I'm obviously not saying
that that couldn't happen or whatever, but we see Geno as our starting
quarterback now." ... CB Antonio Cromartie, hampered by a sore hip,
said he's feeling the best he has since the first day of training camp.
"I was playing on one hip," he said.
Jets: Number One Task, Stop Super Mario
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