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Rex Ryan OK with Mario Williams in division as long as Tom Brady gets crushed

By Tim Graham

At first, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan dreaded the idea of pass-rusher Mario Williams coming to the AFC East.

Ryan got indigestion when the Buffalo Bills were courting Williams in March.

"Ho, ho, shoot," Ryan said on a conference call today with Bills reporters. "I was, like, 'Please, don't. Please, don't.' "

Then Ryan pondered Williams a little more.

"It was funny because I thought, 'Oh, great. If we can survive the two weeks against him, it would be a positive that he gets to go hit Tom Brady.' So I thought that was a real positive.

"It is exciting to get great players in the division. There's no doubt. Obviously, you wish those players were on your team. But the fact he went to Buffalo was, like, 'Oof. Oh, boy.' He is a tremendous football player."

Williams lines up at left defensive end. The Jets have had serious problems at right tackle, the player who will line up against him.

Wayne Hunter was supposed to be that guy, but an awful preseason destroyed his confidence and the Jets traded him. The Jets moved Austin Howard into that spot. Howard is 6 foot 7 and 333 pounds but has played only four games in his career with one start.

"I can tell you this: Our tackle's probably not sleeping very well this week," Ryan said. "I know I wouldn't be if I had to go against him."

Asked to elaborate on Howard, Ryan laughed -- probably to keep from crying.

"I think the only way you can get a bigger challenge is if it was DeMarcus Ware," Ryan said of the Dallas Cowboys superstar edge rusher.

"It's going to be a huge challenge to anybody. Austin hasn't had a whole lot of game experience, obviously. But we feel good about him. He's a huge man that can bend. He's a guy that's kind of a road-grader in the running game."

Ryan said he would prepare Howard by using former Bills pass-rusher Aaron Maybin and first-round draft pick Quinton Coples on the scout team to act like Williams. Ryan mentioned going so far as to line them up offsides to get Howard used to Williams' speed and strength.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |