Given his 2016 cap hit ($19.9MM) and apparent inability to fit into head coach Rex Ryan‘s scheme, there’s a strong likelihood defensive end Mario Williams will play his final game with the Bills on Sunday. The 30-year-old has totaled just 17 tackles and a career-low four sacks this season, grading a terrible 94th out of 107 edge defenders by Pro Football Focus’ standards (subscription required). Williams’ downturn in performance could be symptomatic of his attitude, as an anonymous teammate alluded to (Twitter link via The Buffalo News’ Tyler Dunne).
“We could easily have 5 solid players contributing than 1 guy who doesn’t give a s—,” the player stated.
Williams issued a retort (Twitter link via Dunne).
“I could just literally not be out there,” he said. “When I get my opportunity, do it. Everybody who said that, they’ll see.”
More from the NFL’s two East divisions:
- Running back Bilal Powell‘s offseason decision to re-sign with the Jets on a one-year deal is paying dividends for both him and the team, the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta writes. Powell had to choose between the Bills (and Ryan, his ex-coach) and Jets, whose backfield was less crowded than Buffalo’s at the time. Powell ended up staying in New York, and has been an important dual-threat weapon for a club that could be headed to the playoffs. Powell is averaging 4.5 yards per rush this season and, as Mehta notes, leads all NFL backs in receiving yards (299) and broken tackles on passing plays (12) since Week 11. In assessing Powell, head coach Todd Bowles said, “He’s been more of a complete back than even I thought he was coming in. He can block. He can run. He’s not just a pass catcher. He does a bunch of things for us.” Of course, what’s bittersweet for the Jets is that, as a pending free agent, Powell’s success could lead him to a raise and a different uniform in the coming months.
- Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie needs to clarify vice president of football operations Howie Roseman‘s role and hold him accountable for it – just as Lurie did with Chip Kelly – submits Jeff McLane of Philly.com. Lurie should give full control of the Eagles’ personnel department to Roseman and sink or swim with him in that position, according to McLane. Roseman’s say over the roster diminished when Kelly took the reins, which is ironic when you consider Roseman was key in the hiring of Kelly. He now has some of that power back with Kelly gone, but Lurie said that Roseman’s work with the personnel department will be “as a collaborator.” That isn’t enough for McLane, who believes someone needs to be in position to take the lion’s share of responsibility for building the roster. McLane also notes that Roseman could drive away potential head coaching candidates because he doesn’t have a scouting background and is perceived as a difficult person with whom to work. Nevertheless, Lurie and team president Don Smolenski will follow Roseman’s lead with respect to Philly’s coaching search, McLane reports.
- Earlier this week, after the Eagles fired Kelly, offensive tackle Lane Johnson claimed strife between Kelly and Roseman took a toll on the players. Johnson also stated players were hesitant to approach Kelly. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, Johnson’s teammate, disagrees. Regarding Johnson’s opinion on the Kelly-Roseman feud, Jenkins said (per Les Bowen of Philly.com) that Johnson “reads too many articles.” On Johnson’s notion that Kelly wasn’t approachable, Jenkins added, “I think the perception was not necessarily the reality.”