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Mario Williams is Someone to be Talked About

Williams makes a play

The night before the 2006 NFL Draft, the Houston radios lit up the airwaves with the breaking news that the Houston Texans would not sign USC RB Reggie Bush, but rather they signed N.C. State RDE Mario Williams with the first overall pick in the draft. This news upset every Houston fan as they felt they watched the 2005 season waste away for nothing. In fact the last game of the season, against San Francisco, was called the Reggie Bowl. Houstonians were questioning the Texans management, selling their season tickets, and giving up their fanhood right before new GM Rick Smith and new HC Gary Kubiak could change the Texans’ losing ways. Texans fans didn’t know what Williams career could amount to, but they immediately questioned his worth on the DLine. Little did the critics know that Smith’s Texans would improve around a solidified DLine to pressure the QB and challenge the run while changing the team for the best.

Things began to turn around in 2006 after the Houston Texans drafted ROLB DeMeco Ryans (Defensive Rookie of the Year, Leading in tackles for Texans in 2006, 2007) in the 2nd Round, T Eric Winston (starter) in the 3rd Round, TE Owen Daniels (starter and second leading receiver) in the 4th Round, and WR David Anderson (a little monster) in the 7th Round. Gary Kubiak launched the Texans into position in the hardest conference, and questionably the hardest division in football, to a 6-10 record. This happened as the Mario Williams was shot into a media speculation and stamped a failure before he could prove his worth to the team that drafted him to shut down their division rival’s QB. Williams started off slow, and he dealt with intense criticism while playing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot all year long. He never lived up to a Julius Pepper’s type rookie season, and the failure stamp was looking permanent. Although it was unfair, the first overall pick should encounter heated criticism to bring out the best in his character. That’s what happened for Mario. He showed bursts last season as a rookie and finished the season with a bang against Indianapolis and Cleveland in Weeks 16 and 17 while piling up 7 total tackles, a pass deflection. The biggest play of the two games occurred in Houston against Indy when Williams forced a fumble on Indy QB Peyton Manning that won the Texans their first game ever over the Colts.

This season, Williams began strong but still showed the lack of enthusiasm and aggression that most powerful DEs show in the NFL. But as the season progressed Kubiak began to notice the 2006 first overall pick was his best improving defensive player. Williams, who has 5 sacks, 29 total tackles, 1 forced fumble and 1 pass deflection, was a force in all of the Texans wins on the defensive side of the ball. In the Texans’ last game, Williams was a force against a Saints offense that could have very well manhandled the Texans inexperienced coverage units if not for the heavy rush by Williams and the D-Line. In the game, Williams had 6 total tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble (on who? REGGIE BUSH). He was all over the Saints run game and Bush. He handled the Saints offensive line and pressured Brees into bad decisions all day. Mario Williams made his statement that the Texans made the right pick, and he’s making a name for himself outside this organization. He should be a force in front of a somewhat national media audience on Thursday Night, December 13, against Denver on the NFL Network.

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