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Super Mario

I've been getting quite a few emails from Houston Texans fans, most of whom weren't saddened when Mario Williams moved on. Here's a pretty well-reasoned example from an avid Texans follower after my column in Thursday's News: 

Jerry,

"Most knowledgable Houston fans can't help but chuckle and say "you should've just asked us, we could've told you that."

"This article could've and has been written in Houston countless times over he last six years. Search for Houston Chronicle's Lance Zierlein's article to Buffalo fans on what to expect, both good and bad. LZ is one of the top football minds in Houston and fairly assessed Mario I think.

"The line "He seems a little too laid back" made me laugh out loud. That line will be engraved on the tombstone of his career. He has the body of a Greek god but strikes me as a guy who plays football because he happens to be good at it, not because he loves it. He loves, LOVES the expensive cars, motorcycles, jet skis and other toys the game has afforded him. I don't know if he loves the game.

"Don't get me wrong. Mario doesn't suck. He's above average. He's pretty good. But pretty good wasn't worth scrapping what the Texans are building. Pretty good shouldn't make you the all time highest paid defender.

"He will have a game where he gets 2.5 or 3 sacks and makes you say "now THIS is what I've been waiting to see!!!" . Then he'll have 3 or 4 or 5 games where he pretty much blends in, isn't terrible but doesn't have a huge effect on the game. That is the pattern we've observed in Houston for six years.

"Also, the surprise revelation of a wrist injury...nothing new. A couple years ago Mario was largely ineffective all year, and only after the season did we find out he was "playing through" an injury all season. That is of course when he isn't truly injured like last year when he missed 11 games and the Texans went on to have their most dominant defense ever and finally win a playoff game.

"Just temper your expectations, learn to be okay with a shy guy who isn't a leader, prefers to blend in and buy cool toys, occasionally rack up sacks but then be run of the mill for awhile. Either that or be disappointed.

"We really honestly don't have sour grapes toward Mario. Our defense was just as good or better without him. I was genuinely terrified when our GM said signing him was a "high priority" and gave a relieved shrug when he went to Buffalo. We have far more crucial players we needed or still need to resign like Foster, Schaub, Cushing, Barwin, Brown, Myers, etc. Mario never dominated enough to justify ruining our cap situation for him.

"Glad to be free of wondering when he'll finally put it together."

Fan in Houston


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Live Chat With Sully

Let's go. Bring on the questions.Thanks for chatting. We'll do it again next week.

Live Chat at 1

I'll be chatting from the News at 1 p.m. today. Written version only. The video chat with Bucky won't begin for another couple of weeks. Hope to talk to you at 1 today.

Dareus Expected to Play

Bills coach Chan Gailey said he expects defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to be back in town Sunday for the home opener against the Chiefs. Dareus returned to Alabama early this week after learning that his brother, Simeon Gilmore, 19,  had been shot to death in a triple homicide early Sunday in a Birmingham suburb.

"I talked to him this morning," Gailey said at his weekly press conference in the team practice bubble. "I think he'll be back for Sunday's game. Whether it's tonight, tomorrow or the next day, I don't know. I think he'll be here for this week, and he wants to be back."

Gailey was asked if he felt Dareus was looking forward to being around his teammates, who are like a second family to the second-year pro.

"Yeah," Gailey said. "I think he understands responsibility everywhere. You can't be everywhere all the time. So we didn't try to pressure him into anything. I think he understands responsibility, which is good. All of our condolences do go out to him and the family. He's got a lot on his plate, to say the least."

Kyle Williams, the Bills' other starting defensive tackle, said he had corresponded with Dareus and told him to take all the time he needs to deal with the grieving process back home in Birmingham.
 

"I've traded text messages with him, talked to him a little bit," Williams said. "Obviously, Marcell is going through a hard time right now. One thing we can all agree on, in this locker room and outside of it, is that there are many, many things more important than this game and losing a football game.

"We're here to support Marcell. I think he'll be back sometime this week, and our prayers are with him. Anytime that he's here, he's going to  lift our team, and we'll be glad to have him. But at the same time, I don't know what the timetable there is. Whatever that timetable is, I'm sure we'll be sensitive to it and let him take care of what he needs to take care of. We'll be there to suport him."

Chat at 1:30

It seems like forever, I know. My weekly chat will return today at 1:30 from the News. Print only version. Next week, I'll be starting a chat with Bucky Gleason, which promises to be very interesting. Maybe I can get him to shell out the $20 he owes me. There's plenty to discuss today: The Bills' opener, the Yankees' recent troubles, the exhilirating speeches by Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton at the Democratic convention, the upcoming Ryder Cup, the labor troubles in hockey.

I plan to go at least two hours, unless the wackos drive me to early drink. Talk to you then.

It's Back!

Well, it's finally time. The NFL season opens today. I'm in the press room at One Bills Drive for the first Bills media day. Player interviews begin at 11:15 in the fieldhouse. Another season of cliches and happy talk is upon us. Jets coach Rex Ryan is scheduled to call in at 11:45. Figures. Right in the middle of player access for the Bills. I have to be here for Rex. It's always a highlight.

Here's a few interesting stats to chew on while you're waiting for tonight's opener between the Giants and Cowboys:

*The Bills were 4-0 last season when Ryan Fitzpatrick attempted fewer than 30 passes. That means, of course, that they were 2-10 when he threw 30 or more.

*The last six Super Bowl champions didn't win a playoff game the following season. The last Super Bowl champ to win a playoff game the following season was the '04 Patriots.

*According to Sports Illustrated, Fred Jackson averaged 3.8 yards a carry after initial contract last season, best in the league. Heck, a lot of backs didn't average 3.8 yards, period.

*It's never too soon for me to praise Tom Brady. Brady has a career record of 124-35 as a starter, the best record of any QB in the Super Bowl era with at least 100 starts. That's roughly three losses a year. Incredible.

*The Bills have lost to the eventual NFC champion six years in a row. In reverse order, that's the Giants, Packers, Saints, Cardinals, Giants and Bears. Does this mean the 49ers will go this year?

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