Tag Archives: Houston Texans

Williams, “Super” Mario

Card: Press Pass 2006
Acquired: TTM 2009, Texans Blitz
See Also: Williams, “Super” Mario (2)

Mario Williams- The #1 overall pick of the 2006 draft was met with a lot of groans and guffaws when Mario took the stage that year, and the Houston Texans were labeled as fools for not taking either USC runningback Reggie Bush or hometown quarterback Vince Young. Much of the pundits were in shock over the selection made by the team, because the knock on Williams was that he took a play off now and then.  At 6’7″, 295,  he ran a pedestrian 4.66 40, but impressed the Texans’ staff with his strength and work ethic.  The fans were split, wanting hometown and University of Texas star Vince Young or electric offensive dynamo Reggie Bush. Mario Williams was not on anybody’s radar. The Texans insisted that he was their guy because they wanted a full-time player, and the team already had a quarterback at the time (David Carr). (In addition, it did not help that when it came down to financial negotiations, it was rumored that Reggie Bush’s camp floated a high number and refused to budge.) There would be severe fallout from the pick and Mario would be roundly criticized. New Orleans would draft Bush and Young would go to the turncoat Titans. The Texans would circle their wagons and shelter their #1 selection from the criticism while cranking up the public relations machine.

Because of a plantars facitis, Mario’s rookie season was not considered a good one, however in 2007 he went out and proved the league wrong, when he singlehandedly crushed the Denver Broncos in primetime. He’d dominate teams running at full speed and make 14 sacks that season, following up in 2008 with 12 more. Williams 2009 and 10 seasons have not been as super, with injuries piling up and a nagging groin injury. Regardless Williams has still managed to make 17.5 sacks over those two seasons. Critics however, have pointed to the sacks coming in ‘garbage time’, which is an unfair assessment due to Williams being frequently double teamed. In the short time that he has been with the young Texans’ franchise, Mario has already established himself as the franchise’s all time sack leader and holds the single season record with the 14 sack effort he had in 2007.

Unfortunately Williams will always have to live up to the comparisons made between him,Vince Young, and Reggie Bush- all playmakers in their own right, but the overwhelming scrutiny will always be there, even though Williams is a 3 time Pro Bowler and 2 time AP. With many members of the 2006 draft now switching teams or under tremendous scrutiny, Mario has endured and continued to perform under the constant stress of being the overall #1 pick of the draft.  As the Texans transform their defense to a 3-4 alignment after the 2011 draft, new coordinator Wade Phillips has confirmed that he will move Mario around the line of scrimmage and perhaps utilize him in a 2 point stance, drawing comparisons to the changes Phillips installed in Buffalo transforming Bruce Smith into a 3-4 defensive end.

G 77     Sac 48      Tac 230    Fum 10    Int 0    Yds 0    Avg -.-    Td 0     lg -.-

Bing, Darnell

Card: Topps Total 2006
Acquired: Texans Blitz 2010

A physical specimen, Bing declared early and entered the draft and was picked by the Raiders in the 4th round of the 2006 draft. Rex Ryan was confident he could find a place for Bing, but Darnell proved to be a difficult tweener to place because  as an in-line safety  he lacked the hip fluidity to play deep routes. Ryan however felt that they could utilize the athlete at outside linebacker and he was transitioned into the position.  After injuring his neck in 2006, he’d lose his season to injured reserve. Bing would be moved back to his native safety position for 2007 but be cut by the Raiders. He’d be picked up off of waivers by the 49ers and ended the season on the practice squad. In 2008 Bing would be signed by the Jets and subsequently released. The Lions would sign Bing, who once again thought that Darnell was a linebacker, where he’d would make 5 tackles on the active roster of the Lions. He’d be cut during the 2009 season. Signed by the Texans in 2009, he spent the next season on the practice squad. An injury during training camp would end his 2010, and in early 2011 he was cut again and is currently a free agent. A physically chiseled athlete, the knock on Darnell is that he looked like Tarzan but hits like Jane. Perhaps a year or two in the UFL will help him refine his skills but at this time his current plans are not known.

-UPDATE- 4/26/11 What a call. The UFL announced their ‘protected player list’- (which amounts to a supplemental draft of veterans from the NFL who were cut from squads that the teams want) and Bing was among the names selected by the Omaha Nighthawks today.

Cushing, Brian

Card: Score 2009
Acquired: TTM 2009, Texans Blitz

The Texans needing defensive help in 2009 decided to address it by taking playmaking linebacker Brian Cushing with their first round draft choice from USC. USC would produce a trio of dominating linebackers in Malealuga, Cushing and Matthews Jr. The primary knock on Cushing was his durability coming out of college, but in 2008 he’d hold up for the full season and while he didn’t have completely eye-popping statistics, Brian’s versatility at both linebacker and defensive end had scouts mouth’s watering. Many teams had him pegged as the 2009 draft’s most versatile defender.

An intense playmaker in game, Brian’s rookie season would be an incredible performance, as he’d come out and crush offensive players from sideline to sideline, and be named to the ProBowl finishing 2nd in the AFC in tackles.  In fact, he’d also be named almost a consensus defensive and NFL Rookie of the Year by most publications.  All along however, there was a failed drug test lingering in the background- one which Cushing insisted was a false positive. Once word got out and the NFL upheld its suspension, the media circus ensued sullying his 2009 accomplishments.  The AP attempted to strip him of his rookie of the year awards and failed.

Suspended for the first 4 games of 2010, Cushing returned to the team, (where after starting middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans went down with a season ending injury,) Cushing stepped in and start twice at middle linebacker for the team. While his 2010 season was marred by suspension Brian still managed to have a decent season finishing with 53 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

With the conversion to the 3-4 looming for Brian and the Texans, the team looks for him to do bigger things in 2011.