I’m going out on a limb here and will predict you won’t see many “We miss you Mario” signs in the stands at Reliant Stadium on Sunday when the Bills face the Houston Texans.
The team that drafted Williams first overall in 2006 decided to let him leave via free agency after last season and they haven’t looked back. Houston has the AFC’s best record at 6-1 and they have the leading candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year in J.J. Watt.
In the meantime, Williams initial season with the Bills has been a disappointment through the first seven games. Williams has 3.5 sacks with those coming in wins over Cleveland and Arizona. He’s been a non factor for the most part in the other five games. Perhaps it was due to an injured left wrist which was repaired with an arthroscopic procedure last week.
Andre Ware watched Williams play for Houston in his role as Texans radio analyst. The 1989 Heisman Trophy winner was a guest on the WGR Morning Show on Tuesday and said he’s not surprised at what’s happening with Williams this season.
“When he was here in Houston he had flashes that he was going to be a fantastic player, a great player” Ware said. “His numbers here at one point, they were really off the charts. Then you would have a lot of the moments that you’re going through in Buffalo where there’s always an injury here or there and he would actually just disappear in games sometimes and you’d wonder what the future was going to hold.”
If Williams has the talent but disappears at times, one would think his work ethic and/or lack of passion for the game would be the problem. “Mario’s the type of player, the bigger the game gets, that’s when he’s going to show up” Ware told WGR. “When he’s criticized and challenged even by Bob McNair (Texans owner) at one point, that’s when he’s going to show up. Then when that stuff kind of dissolves a little bit then he may disappear for a while and that’s what you have in Mario Williams.”
The ascension of Watt has made the departure of Williams a non story in Houston. Watt leads the league with 9.5 sacks while also recording 7.5 tackles for loss and 9 disrupted passes(6 defensed, 3 tipped).
Ware says the second year pro out of the University of Wisconsin is already playing at an elite level. “I think everything about this guy makes him special. Forget about what you see on the field, he’s just a solid human being who plays the game with passion and that’s all the time” Ware said. “His motor is always running. You talk about all the physical traits he has at 6-5, about 295, the vertical jump and the quickness. For a guy his size, he just shouldn’t be able to do the things that he does with that body. He’s just phenomenal and the guy is something that, having been around the game for a long time, I’ve never seen before.”
Here’s the entire interview with Andre Ware: