Should Mario Williams Start Listening To Critics?

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The Buffalo Bills played the New York Jets in Week 1 and didn't live up to the preseason hype of being a playoff-caliber team. The Bills defense let the Jets—who didn't score a single touchdown in preseason—set a franchise record for points scored in a season opener.

One of the biggest stories to squirt out of this game is Rodney Harrison's criticism of Bills defensive end Mario Williams for Williams choosing to play for the Bills.

“They’re not very good,” Harrison said.  “They don’t have a franchise quarterback.  The Patriots will always dominate that division.  The Jets will always be second.  My point here is, you go out and get a $100 million deal, wouldn’t you have taken $80 million and gone somewhere where you could have been competitive every week?  I think this is a huge mistake for Mario Williams.  Mark my words, he will get lost in the shuffle. He will probably fall off the face of the earth.”

Harrison's remarks are off base. 

The Patriots will not always dominate the AFC East. The Jets won't always be second. Those kind of statements shouldn't come from a person who is paid to discuss the NFL. Those kinds of statements are reserved for drunk fans sitting at a bar using the "whoever screams the loudest wins the debate" type of argument tactics, not from professional NFL analysts. 

And who is to say that the Bills won't be competitive this year? Have people written them off after one week? Again, that's for the drunks at the bar. True analysts keep analyzing and looking deeper. 

Before the Bills-Jets kickoff, the Jets were being pummeled in the media for not having scored a touchdown all preseason, while the Bills were being touted as a playoff-caliber team. Within three hours, the Jets are considered possible playoff contenders, while the Bills need to focus on the 2013 NFL Draft.

Harrison, and those like him, are to blame for such fickle analysis. One example from last season highlights such a simple-minded approach to sports analysis:

By mid-season last year, New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was on the "hot-seat" after the Giants went to 6-6, losing to the Green Bay Packers in Week 13. Analysts were convinced Coughlin would be fired at season's end. Four weeks later, the Giants barge into the playoffs and win the Superbowl as a 9-7 team. The focus then becomes whether or not Coughlin should be inducted into the Hall of Fame now, or have to wait until he's retired. 

Back to Rodney.

So in Week 1, Mario Williams doesn't pick up a sack. The Bills get embarrassed by the Jets. And Harrison throws shots at Williams. 

What will Harrison say when Williams leads the NFL in sacks? Or if Williams and the Bills become a top-5 defense in the league? Who's to say these things can't happen? 

It reminds me of Cris Carter calling Calvin Johnson elite only in "Madden" video-games. Then Johnson scores eight touchdowns in the first four weeks of the 2011 season and Carter does a 180 and names Johnson the No. 1 wide receiver in the league. Carter is still spitting out pieces of the sole for that one. And Rodney may be next.

But Williams did the right thing handling Harrison. Williams ignored him. 

 

“No. I don't watch TV, man,” Williams said. “Never have, never will. I've said that about a million times my last seven years. You know, everybody's going to have something to say regardless, good or bad. I can't control somebody else's opinion. But I will do what I'm supposed to do here and perform.”

There's no doubt that Williams will perform well. He's a talented defensive lineman who has excelled at his position. And as far as Week 1 is concerned, Williams' answer to that is dead-on.

 

“This is one game, man,” Williams said. “It's one game, bro." 

Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins Bio

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).

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Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).