A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Williams is slowly silencing his critics
For all of us who have criticized Mario Williams for his lack of consistency this season, here are some sobering statistics that should open some eyes to the kind of season he’s had.
The best way I can show you what kind of season Williams has produced is to compare his season with the defensive ends who were voted to the Pro Bowl ahead of him as well as Buffalo’s Aaron Schobel, who is the first alternate ahead of Williams.
Now, for all of you who rip Williams for not getting a sack in every game or not making enough tackles, let me point out that no defensive end voted to the Pro Bowl has rushed the passer or has made tackles on a consistent basis this season. If you don’t believe me, just stay tuned.
Let’s start with sacks. Williams has 14, or one-half fewer than Seattle’s Patrick Kerney, who leads the NFL.
Williams has recorded 48 percent of his team’s sacks. No defensive end accounts for a higher percentage of his team’s sacks.
Williams is the only player in the NFL with at least one sack in his last six games. His 10 sacks during that six-game period are tied with Kerney for the league lead.
How’s this for consistency?
Now, let’s check out Williams’ consistency because many of us accused him of being inconsistent early in the season. Well, guess what? Even the highest-motor ends are inconsistent if you base it on tackles and sacks.
Ask NFL coaches which defensive ends always play with the highest motors, and they’ll start with Tennessee’s Kyle Vanden Bosch, Green Bay’s Aaron Kampman and Kerney.
Vanden Bosch has 12 sacks, two fewer than Williams. Vanden Bosch has gone without a sack in seven games compared to Williams’ six.
Kerney, another high-motor veteran, also has gone seven games without a sack. Kampman has gone six games without a sack, or the same as Williams.
Miami’s Jason Taylor and the Giants’ Osi Umenyiora also have gone seven games without a sack.
OK, let’s look at tackles. Williams has seven games with at least four tackles â€” the same as Vanden Bosch and one fewer than Kerney and Kampman.
Now, check this out, and you might have to read it a couple of times, but it’s not a misprint: Williams has been in on 55 tackles. That includes sacks, unassisted tackles and assisted tackles. On those 55 plays, opponents have netted a total of 1 1/2 yards. Yep, 1 1/2 yards. That’s 0.02 yards per play.
What does it mean? It means Williams makes most of his plays at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Of the six Pro Bowl ends, Williams is tied with Kampman for the most assisted tackles with 16. Vanden Bosch, Kerney and Schobel are next with 12 each.
What does it mean? It means Williams is tied or is ahead of high-motor defensive ends who are constantly praised for playing hard all the time.
Now, for everyone who can’t wait to blast Williams — including those who ripped him after he had a sack and another tackle for loss at Indianapolis — here’s something to think about: Williams is 22 and finishing his second season.
By comparison, here are the second-year sack totals of Vanden Bosch (3 1/2 ), Kerney (2 1/2 ) and Kampman (2).
Taylor had nine, Schobel 8 1/2 and Umenyiora seven.
Want more? Howie Long had 5 1/2 and Michael Strahan 4 1/2 .
At this early stage of his career, Williams can best be compared to another defensive end who was the top pick in the draft. In 1986, his second season, Buffalo’s Bruce Smith had 15 sacks.
Allen comes close
The only defensive end you can make a case for having a better season than Williams is Kansas City’s Jared Allen. He didn’t play in the first two games because he was suspended. He’s one-half sack behind Williams and seven tackles ahead.
But he didn’t have a sack in five games, one fewer than Williams.
The bottom line on all of this is that no Pro Bowl defensive end other than Allen has been better than Williams.
And, by the way, in Allen’s second season, he had 11 sacks.
Even Williams’ biggest critics have to admit that if he improves next season the way he improved this season, he might be illegal.