Originally Posted by Texecutioner
I'll slide on in here and take Dale Murphy's back for a change on this one.
I"m not sure if Barwin is simply better than Mario, but we're getting a ton of more pressure from that side than we've ever gotten with Mario there by himself. Barwin is definitely more explosive in my eyes. I"ve never seen Mario be as effective as Barwin was yesterday. Bottom line, this team has been way better at getting to the passer without Mario on the field this season. The Texans have never had a good pass rush since their inception until this season and coincidentally it's when Mario isn't playing. I think we've got plenty of guys that can rush the passer now to where we don't need to resign Mario, and can use that money on other positions to make this football team overall a better team.
To Mario's defense though, he did start off the season looking great and he didn't exactly get his full season to show how well he'd look in this new defense for a full season.
There is absolutely no correlation between Mario's absence and the high-level of play by the defense, particularly the LB spot. As you suggest it is coincidence only. The spectacular defense we see is due to the combination of talent, a real D-coordinator on Phillips, and a respectable secondary courtesy of J-Jo. To suggest otherwise is dishonest, in my opinion.
I think the D gets along fine without him, as has already been proven, but I'd certainly love to have him back at the right price for his position. I think the prudent thing for the Texan's FO to do is to franchise Mario next year which provides them a full season to see how he works out or if he is again injured for a significant portion of the season. If he stays healthy and the performance isn't there then a trade scenario should be visited.