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Everyone Freaking Relax

I understand that Texans fans are eager to see Mario Williams "prove" that he was worthy of the No. 1 pick (or, more to the point, worthy of being picked ahead of Vince Young and Reggie Bush) in last year's draft.  Really, I get it.  But I'm getting a bit perturbed at all of the gum-flapping that's going on regarding how Mario is already a bust and/or that he REALLY needs to get it in gear after what observers deem to be two (2) below-average PRESEASON efforts.  Seriously, the Chronicle may want to consider adding a section to the daily paper for this subject.  It seems like the topic is beaten to death every day, and that Mario is a failure for not sacking the QB three times every snap.  See Exhibits "A", "B", "C", and "D", all written in the last couple of days.  If you didn't know better, you'd think Mario was picking dandelions and/or wearing his helmet backward instead of putting forth even the slightest of efforts.

People...Rome wasn't built in a day.  As Matt eloquently pointed out in this post over at DGDB&D (albeit with regard to Jason Babin), the vast majority of pass rushers have a learning curve as they transition from the college ranks to the NFL.  Battling the starting left tackle of any NFL team is going to be a significant step up from, say, going against the LT from Duke.  It's going to take some time to adjust.  And I've said it a million times, but I'll say it again:  Mario was playing on a bum foot for the second half of last year.  He wasn't physically right.  

What's more, sacks alone are not the sole determining statistic of productivity for a defensive end.  I know Mario was drafted to sack the QB.  But his other contributions (tying up a second blocker, causing a play to be run to the other side, etc.) should not be discounted in assessing what he's done or what he's capable of doing.  In other words, we shouldn't use his sack total at the end of the year as the be-all and end-all of his worth.  Dwight Freeney only had 5.5 sacks (one more than Super Mario) last year.  Think Indy is ready to question his talent?  Of course not.

Mario Williams has played one season of professional football.  Let's permit him to play one, two, or even three more before we label him a bust, shall we?  I guess, however, it could be worse.  Mario could be getting the Amobi Okoye Treatment:


"There's already talk in league circles that defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, the No. 10 overall pick in the draft, could be a bust.

The 20-year-old rookie from Louisville received plenty of hype in the run up to the draft.  But the opinion of some is that he is undersized and not strong.  As one source said, he's the "creation of a good P.R. campaign," and "there's no way he's a first-round pick."

Okoye already has been overshadowed in training camp and the preseason by Rams nose tackle Adam Carriker, the 13th overall selection.  Carriker appears to be poised to make an instant impact at this level.

In our view, the biggest red flag regarding Okoye was raised when his college coach, Bobby Petrino, drafted defensive end Jamaal Anderson instead of Okoye.  If Petrino, who had prior NFL experience, believed that Okoye could excel as a pro, Petrino surely would have taken the known commodity over the unknown quantity.

If Okoye falters, he'll be the third first-round pick on the Texans defensive line that has underachieved, including defensive tackle Travis Johnson and defensive end Mario Williams."

If that doesn't make your blood boil, I don't know what will.  Okoye has yet to play a single regular season game, and he's already been labeled a failure.  Here's hoping both Mario Williams and Amobi Okoye each notch thirty sacks apiece this season.