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Re: Super Mario not so super so far
Damien Woody played many years on the offensive line for the New England Patriots and New York Jets.
This year, he has been a huge Buffalo Bills fan.
Woody has been banging the Bills' drum in his role as an ESPN analyst. He predicted they would make the playoffs because he thought free-agent defensive end Mario Williams was that influential, that dominant.
But after what Woody witnessed from Williams in Sunday's season-opening 48-28 loss to the Jets, he's not sure what to think anymore.
"Mario had no effect on the game. None. Zero." said Woody, who watched the game from the stands next to some Bills fans at the Meadowlands.
Against a right tackle with four games of NFL experience and one previous start, Williams recorded no sacks. His lone tackle came on the fourth play. He didn't appear on the official play-by-play rundown for the rest of the game.
In the Bills' locker room after the game, Williams complained that replacement officials kept ignoring Howard's hands being jabbed in Williams' face.
"For him to blame replacement officials as the reason he got dominated yesterday, I think that's pathetic," Woody said. "There's no ifs, ands or buts about it.
"You're the big free agent. You're the $100 million man going up against a guy that was on the practice squad and inserted in the starting role just a couple weeks ago. I saw a lot of times Mario was one-on-one and couldn't do anything."
The Bills made Williams the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, signing him to a six-year contract worth as much as $100 million and with $50 million in guarantees.
Woody didn't see any justification for those dollars Sunday.
"I give all the credit to Austin Howard, but this is opening day," Woody said. "If there's any day that you're going to be riled up, it is opening day. You're on the road against a divisional opponent. You're feeling good about your team.
"To not have any production? And then to try to blame it on replacement refs? I mean, come on, man. You've got to be kidding me."
Jets coach Rex Ryan denied that Howard did anything illegal. Bills coach Chan Gailey dismissed any overlooked calls.
"Our offensive guys probably had a couple," Gailey said. "It's going to happen. Maybe it happened more to him than other people. We've just got to keep fighting through that kind of stuff."
The official NFL game book credited the Bills with no quarterback hits, although Williams did knock Mark Sanchez down once. Sanchez had one of the best games of his career, throwing for three touchdowns and registering a gaudy 123.4 passer rating.
Some might say the Jets negated Williams with quick throws, but Jets receivers were getting open in the secondary with double moves. Double moves take time to execute and require pass protection.
"He was doing all right," Gailey said. "He didn't use the power rush maybe as much. If you'd go back and ask him, he might say he should have used the power rush a little bit more than he did, the edge rush."
A lot of players who perform "all right" make a fraction of the salary Williams does. When asked whether "all right" is enough from a player of Williams' stature, Gailey was cautious in his response.
"It's hard to put too much pressure on guys like that," Gailey said. "You just want every guy to be a factor in the game at whatever position they play. I want them all to be more of a factor.
"We point him because he's a highly touted signee and all that. He's going to be a good player here for a long time. I don't have a problem with that."
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