Mario Williams’ debut with the Buffalo Bills couldn’t have gone much worse after signing a six-year, $96 million contract in the 2012 offseason. He’ll need to step up immediately in Week 2 to help both himself and his team turn things around.
Williams—a two-time Pro Bowler with 53 career sacks—finished the blowout loss with one tackle.
To make matters worse, the pass-rushing specialist decided to blast the (replacement) referees following the game, complaining about non-calls of hands to the face from his opponent (via the New York Times).
If he didn’t already, Williams now has an enormous target on his back from everyone, including the media, fans and division rivals such as the Jets. Heck, his performance and subsequent comments may have even rubbed his own organization and teammates the wrong way.
If this all weren’t enough, reports are now surfacing that Williams may be suffering from an “undisclosed injury,” as noted by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. An injury to Williams is bad. That he’s complaining about it without being prompted is even worse.
So what now?
Clearly, Williams has gotten off on the wrong foot in 2012. He played poorly in his debut, blamed it on the officials, then revealed he is also dealing with an injury that he’s “got to take care of,” per Florio’s report.
The next step is turning the page.
Buffalo offered Williams such an enormous contract for two reasons. First, the Bills desperately needed help rushing the passer. Second, Williams was the top free-agent pass-rusher on the market.
Not only that, but Williams has been an elite pass-rusher in this league since becoming the No. 1 overall pick in 2006. His strong resume and proven track record had the Bills and their fans convinced that he’d be a difference-maker for this team.
And he still can be.
It’s only one week and one game, but the fact still remains that Williams disappointed in his much-anticipated debut. The only way for him to turn the tide is to put Week 1 behind him and have a productive game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2.
The Bills will be playing in front of their home crowd for this matchup, and fans will be more than happy to put the past behind them if Super Mario can come out and notch a few sacks and make a few big plays.
Williams actually defended the run pretty well against the Jets. He just didn’t get to the passer.
Now, he’ll have more fire in his belly than ever to put an end to all the negative talk and prove why he deserves his big contract.
If he can do so, it’ll go a long way towards helping the Bills earn a victory. And ultimately, that is the real reason Buffalo brought him aboard.