The Bills’ current defensive end Mario Williams just doesn’t know when to quit. It was one thing to deliberately throw the Bills’ coaches under the bus after the Cincinnati game, but to do it again and again?? Any chance Mario gets to vent about his 2015 season he jumps at it. I am sure most Bills fans have already seen the quotes but if you haven’t here is what he told ESPN’s Josina Anderson recently:
We were building a defense that we can go and shut people down, shut people out, and then all of a sudden everything just changes as far as how the players are used. That’s just kind of odd to me. … I’m not saying that the scheme is wrong, I’m just saying that our strengths could be utilized better. … In our meetings defensively, especially in our defensive line room, we said, ‘Can we go straight? Can we just go? Can we turn it loose?'”[We] said to our defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, ‘Do we have to drop on this?’ … I’m not the type of person to cause chaos inside of our home. I tried to make it clear that I’m not criticizing anybody. I’m just saying, ‘Can we just go forward? Can we mix it up? Can we attack and get after it? We don’t need to disguise.'”It’s kind of crazy when you are asked to do something that is totally different, but yet as a whole it didn’t work out defensively. … But yet I’m the one whose production has fallen off? Like, that is why I’m saying, I’m prepared for anything because I know I’m going to prove a point and that is not even a question in my mind.”At the end of the day, if I’m not there, I’ll show you that I’m better than what I’ve been before. Like, that’s just a chip on my shoulder regardless of whether I am there or not, because given the opportunity I’ll get back to what I was.
There is truth to what he has to say, everyone’s statistics did suffer. But is that what a team game is about? Stats?! The reason why the media had been questioning him so much about the scheme was because he is the 2nd highest paid defensive end in the league! When you get paid that you are supposed to produce regardless of scheme.
Sure, Rex used him differently. He used him in ways within the framework of Rex’ scheme but he also used Mario in ways similar to 2014.
The merged defense line is not a fallacy, the failure of it and the Bills defense as a whole is no doubt a fact. But part of the reason it failed was because of guys like Mario not buying in, guys having trouble comprehending the defense and guys just flat out not executing.
After the bye week, the Bills began a slow transition into the type of defense Rex typically runs. There were many reasons for that, but primarily the Bills had to because of the injuries hitting the defense and the merged defense was not working. In that transition, Mario’s role started to change. But why?
Well Mario was a player that was vocal on how he was being utilized. Anytime the Bills were aligned in a 3-4 defense the first half of the year, Mario was the OLB (below). The Bills had Kyle Williams to play the defensive end position.
When the Bills were in their 4-3 under, Mario and Jerry rarely flipped positions. Rex didn’t see the need flip their ends based on the strength of the offense. Why? Because Hughes and Mario are talented enough versus the run. So if the offense aligned the strength opposite Mario, he would typically be a wide 5 or 7 technique DE (below). Those positions typically align outside the tackle or outside the tight end.
Whether he was an OLB, or the wide end, at times he was asked to drop into coverage. Defensive ends and outside linebackers are asked to drop into coverage. It is a concept within just about every scheme. Most of the time it is within a play-call called a fire zone blitz, where a LB blitzes and defensive lineman drops into coverage. Mario was usually asked to drop when the Bills were in base defense. How often are defenses in base defense? A majority of the defensive snaps are in nickel and sub packages. So he had plenty of wide 9 looks to rush the passer to pad his sack stats.
By the the 1st match-up of with the Jets, Rex had transitioned to more of his style of defense. They used a lot more odd fronts in their base and pass defense. Mario’s role was changed even more. Due to the lack of pass rush from Mario and the unwillingness to do his job Rex began using him as a 5/4i tech defensive end, again primarily in the 3-4 or odd man fronts.
A role that he obviously was not happy with. It was a good fit for the defense as a whole because he is a good run stopper. But his play, his attitude and his production fell off. Just look at how his production slipped from before the bye to after.
According to PFF.
The 2015 season was an obvious defensive failure. I think that has been established. After studying the film, the coaches and players are to blame equally for the drop off on that side of the ball. I don’t think anyone can really argue that. The bigger issue are guys like Mario. A guy who keeps pointing the finger at the coaches and the scheme. Airing out what he did or didn’t say to coaches in the meeting rooms is unacceptable. He thinks by telling reporters those things that he is putting the blame for his lack of production on the coaches. Well, it is doing the opposite.
He is just bringing attention to himself. Highlighting how he may not be coach-able, or a bad teammate. He is trying to force his way out of the organization, but by putting these comments out there he could actually be hurting himself.
If and when the Bills cut ties with Mario, he will definitely have suitors. They will bring him in, interview him, hear what he has to say and get to know him. After that, what do you think they are going to do if they haven’t already? Turn on the film! The eye in the sky doesn’t lie.
Whether he was used correctly or not coaches, scouts and GMs will see that he didn’t put forth the effort. They will see his body language. Some teams will overlook it, but others won’t. In the end, he will get signed, because lets face it he still has value.
I think more of that value is in the run game. I believe that he has lost a step. Combine that with the fact that he really never had any pass rushing combination moves and you have an edge rusher that can only get to the QB bull rushing weaker tackles. He will go to another team and probably get 7-8 sacks, but lets face it he is not worth $19.9 million dollars!
It is my opinion that Whaley knew major changes were going to occur in 2016. The Bills were going to have to make changes to a few of the veterans on the defensive side of the ball. Starting with Mario. Whaley knew that his contract was not going to be feasible come 2016 and that was well before Richie and Tyrod Taylor entered the picture. With a young crop of talent like Gilmore, Glenn and now Incognito and Tyrod needing new contracts there was no way the team could continue to pay Mario that amount. The idea to build a dominant front four produced numbers, but it didn’t shut down Brady and sure didn’t get us into the playoffs. So Whaley will be forced to redistribute the salary away from the defensive line.
Look at this graph per Spotrac:
The Bills currently have $91 million dollars allocated to the defense. Almost 13% of the whole salary cap is allocated to Mario Williams.
Mario consistently ran his mouth and took plays off in 2015 and I just don’t see how the Bills bring him back. He has lost all respect within the organization and more importantly in the locker room. Imagine your coworker getting paid 6 times more than you, putting in less effort than you, and constantly blaming others for not getting his work done…Tell me, you would respect that employee?
It is time for the Bills to QUIT on Mario, walk away from this guy. This team will be much better of without him.