Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Jets O-line's mission: Stop Mr. Mario
By Matt Ehalt
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- To Jets coach Rex Ryan, Buffalo defensive end Mario Williams has it all.
"The fact that God touched this guy and gave him unbelievable gifts -- you got the height, the size, the length, the arms, the speed. That's what kind of jumps out," Ryan said. "And he plays hard. He's smart."
The Jets have the tough challenge of stopping the NFL's sack leader when Williams and the Bills come to town. Williams had 4 1/2 sacks in last Sunday's game against Carolina, which is more than the Jets have as a team through their first two contests.
Will the Jets keep Bills DE Mario Williams away from Geno Smith on Sunday?
"Mario Williams is one of those great athletes. He's a good defensive end. They have a good defensive line," Jets right tackle Austin Howard said. "At the same time, I believe we have a good offensive line. As usual it's going to be a battle in the trenches and we're prepared for that."
Williams set the Bills record against Cam Newton in Buffalo's 24-23 win over the Panthers. The pass-rusher tallied 3 1/2 sacks rushing from the left defensive end spot, while one came from the right side. Three of those sacks could be credited as coverage sacks, though, as Newton held onto the ball for more than five seconds before Williams got him.
"I think that [4 1/2 sacks] might have been our team high last year for the season," Ryan said in reference to the Jets being led by Quinton Coples' 5 1/2 sacks in 2012.
The Jets did a great job against Williams last year as they held him to zero sacks in two games. In Williams' first game with Buffalo after signing a six-year, $100 million deal, the Jets held him to just one tackle in a 48-28 rout. Williams had three tackles in the second game.
After the first game, Williams said that Howard had been illegally blocking him, and allegedly using hands to the face almost on every play. Ryan defended Howard by saying he disagreed with Williams, and Howard defended himself by saying he wasn't penalized for what Williams was claiming.
Howard, who will see plenty of Williams on Sunday, said he's going to put in plenty of study time to break down Williams' game after his monstrous day.
"Study the films and learn what he does best and try and learn why and how he got those sacks," Howard said. "Going against him twice already I understand physically who he is and I believe the guys we have on defense give us a good look to prepare for what they do well as a defense."
Buffalo is running a new scheme this year under former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who runs a scheme very similar to Ryan. Howard said preparing against Ryan's defense each day helps them prepare for Buffalo.
"We respect their line. We respect their defense very much," Howard said. "And we respect their defensive coordinator as well."