The Texans are back from their well-earned break. At 6-1, they are set to host the 3-4 Buffalo Bills, who bring a defense to town that could send us all into 2010 Frank Bush flashbacks. I mean, they are beyond brutal. The additions of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to go with Kyle Williams and Marcel Dareus on the defensive line was supposed to make the Bills a fearsome defensive front… instead – GOD AWFUL. It’s obviously not all Mario’s fault, but reality is that they paid him to be THE MAN, not one of the guys who is a piece to the puzzle. Mario isn’t that guy, never was that guy, and certainly wasn’t going to become that guy. That said – there’s NO WAY I thought he’d underachieve THIS much.
We know now that Mario started complaining about a wrist injury that was preventing him from playing at his best. NFL fines followed, and ultimately Mario (apparently on his own) decided to have a “minor procedure” on his wrist that will have him missing practice time, but allegedly will not cost him an appearance against his former team. We’ll see.
The day the NFL schedule came out back in April, Mario Williams tweeted something to the effect of “November 4th Judgement Day.” That rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way.
You will recall during Houston’s dismantling of Baltimore, fans booed Jacoby Jones lustily. I thought that was lame, though obviously within the rights of those who did the booing. Jacoby needed to go. It was time. But for fans to threaten him after the playoff loss last year was ridiculous. If he had gone to the media and ripped Houston, the fans, the coaching, etc., then sure – boo away. But he’s just a guy who screwed up. So what?
Mario is kinda sorta different. I’m a big Mario fan, but in no way did I ever for one tenth of one second think he was going to re-sign in Houston – nor did I want him to, considering the amount of money it would have taken.
Like many other Texans fans, I had some interaction on Twitter with him after the deal to send him to Buffalo became official. I wished him well, and he responded to a couple of my tweets in a really friendly, appreciative manner. It was all good. But, then he started taking subtle potshots at the Texans, and then they became not-so-subtle. Part of the reason for that, of course, is that I’m sure the vast majority of Texans fans were hurling insults at him, rather than wishing him well.
Again, whatever. Everyone has every right to say whatever, whether it be completely stupid and unfounded or not. It’s a free country, blah blah blah. But for Mario to say there were no hard feelings, and that he wished everyone the best in Houston – and then to turn around and call for “Judgement Day” and other barbs on Twitter – it’s clear that he’s got issues with how things went down in Houston. It’s clear he has a chip on his shoulder about it, and that’s fine – but when you say things like that in the public setting that is Twitter, you have to be ready to accept that people are going to react negatively.
It’s obvious by Mario’s tweets (and even a couple of interviews from back after the signing) that he’s put a star next to this one, and it’s not “just another game” for him. What does that mean? Well, considering Mario’s play in the past – it probably means he will have his best game of the season against the Texans. That’s just kind of how Mario has rolled. When he’s extra motivated, he seems to rise to the occasion. Not always, but it has happened in the past (nationally televised games, games after he has taken an unusual amount of criticism, etc.)
The Bills are awful, but they have managed to play well in spurts enough to get three wins. If the Texans don’t take the Bills too lightly, they should steamroll them regardless of how well Mario plays. How much will he play, or how effective he will be remains to be seen. He may not even practice this week – but you can bet he’ll find a way to get on the field. When he does, he’s going to hear it from Reliant… and unlike last week with Jacoby, I won’t say a word in his defense.