Last season the Bills were enriched by the addition of Mario Williams on defense, an end that brought with him a career 53 sacks over the span of 6 years with the Houston Texans. Mario was supposed to be the answer to the Bills championship goal and it was so believed by the Bills organization that a $96 million contact was tendered, signed, and delivered.
In 2012, Williams accumulated 10.5 sacks for the Bills defense increasing the previous years total sacks by 8 and forcing other teams to plan for his presence on the field. But, ever since the announcement of the contract and the end of the 2012 season, the question has always lingered – “Can mario Williams ever live up to his contract?”
The answer simply is no – no one can, to the extent of a near 100 million dollar contract. The numbers will just never add up.
The truth is, Mario Williams is not what the bills defense is about, yes he is a big part of the big picture but he is in no way what will define the success of the team on a championship run. The defense is made up of a lot of players and not one will determine the Bills championship future, a perfect example is Warren Sapp.
Sapp was part of a Tampa Bay team that didn’t enjoy true defensive success until the late 90′s and early 2000′s when Sapp began to get help from players like Marcus Jones and Simeon Rice. And as good as Warren Sapp was at the position, being the lone hunter only gets your stat numbers up but no rings, that is unless of course you have a pack to hunt with.
What Mario has with him this year is Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus, he will not be hunting alone but in a pack. That is provided Mike Pettine’s 3-4 system can bring the unit together as he did when he had the same role building the Jets top ranked defense. Along with Williams and Dareus, the Bills also have cornerback Leodis McKelvin and safety Jairus Byrd, a set of perennial All-Pros. Manny Lawson, a transplant out of Cincinnati looking to rejuvenate his career, will add to the already strong defense and Pettine will most likely use him like he did David Harris in New York and get the most out of him. But for the Bills defense to actually help get the Bills that championship ring that has evaded them for so long they will have to step it up. The tools are there, the talent is there without question, and with a relatively young offense that could potentially have a rookie quarterback at the helm starting week one they will have to better than just “good”.
In 2002 the Buccaneers made their championship run to the Super Bowl with an average offense but a stout defense handing in a total 43 team sacks for the year. The Bills will need to reach the same number or at least come close to earn that championship in this coming years passing NFL league. The championship defense will start with Mike Pettine’s blackboard and his X’s and O’s, it is up to him to teach the players their assignments, after that it is up to each player to make those X’s and O’s move and be effective on the field.
By Sergio Peralta