Mario Williams arrived back in Orchard Park on Monday and as upbeat as he has been since the day he won the Mega Millions from the Bills. I am still a little unclear about how Mario made the decision to have the procedure and how much the team was involved (and that is troubling) but it's done and he's back and he says he's ready to go. He better be. Sunday the Bills head to Houston, the place where Williams was once the number one overall pick and the place where he became a Pro Bowl player. It's also the place where team management decided they could do just fine without him when his contract expired.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak is either trying to be nice or is flat out lying when he talks about Mario being double teamed in Buffalo. The old saying in football is that "the tape don't lie" and the tape says that is not even close to the case. But if we are to believe Williams about the wrist injury, he says he finally feels right and is ready to go and show what he is capable of doing for the Bills. Former NFL quarterback Andre Ware (Heisman winner) is now an analyst for the Texans. Ware told WGR radio in Buffalo that when Mario was with the Texans "he would show flashes of greatness, but he would often disappear in games" . But he did say that when Mario is criticized or challenged it is when he shows up. Well, he's certainly been criticized and his old team the Texans are certainly a challenge. Mario has used the excuse of dirty play by an opponent, double teams on the line and the wrist injury so far this year. Let's see if he shows up Sunday
It's easy to put a huge share of the blame for this season's under achievement on Mario Williams, but he has plenty of company to share the responsibility. I like the fact that Chris Kelsay called out the entire team (including himself) and that nearly every player nodded their head in agreement with Kelsay's right to express that opinion. Now let's see if that was just lip service or if they actually believe they can play with some urgency. We've heard of litany of explanations for the abysmal failure of the defense, led in large part by well deserved criticism of Dave Wannstedt's schemes, but at some point the game is just about tackling the man with the ball. The man with the ball on Sunday will be Arian Foster, who should be as excited as a 6 year old on Halloween to play against the Bills run defense.
Offensively it has to be less Fitz, more run game. I think it's getting safe to assume than Ryan Fitzpatrick has just a few games left to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. It's hard to imagine the Bills can plan to keep him as a number one guy after this season unless something changes significantly. In my opinion Fitzpatrick has to go back to being a more dependable and serviceable quarterback that a team can count on to manage a game, not to "get greedy" as he did late in the loss to the Titans. If this team has a strength its two exceptionable running backs. They need to be options 1 and 2 when the Bills have the ball.
Much like his quarterback, Chan Gailey has everything on the line over the last 2 months of the season. This is a man who got the Cowboys to the playoffs two straight seasons and then got fired. He said when he got this job he would do things his own way (in large part because you had the feeling he knew this was his last shot) If Gailey is going to go out, I want to see him go swinging. I don't mean throwing the ball all over the field. I am talking about being a more aggressive coach in other ways, like skipping midfield punts and taking chances on special teams. Chan needs to take the "book" he is using as his big decisions and throw it out the window for the next couple of months.
If you a fan of this team and you expect a win Sunday in Houston you are delusional. That doesn't mean it can't happen, but to expect this Bills team to go on the road and beat a vastly superior team like the Texans is silly. But you should expect effort and competition and energy from your team. There is no excuse for that to not happen and then you can hope for the upset. I don't see much of a chance of that happening, but we should be able to accept a great effort in a loss to a better team. In 2012 we have not seen that so far