Tonawanda News — FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — 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 last year.
“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 comfortable.
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 of things.”