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Monday, September 11, 2006

Mario facing the heat in Houston

While Reggie Bush was basking in the glow of the New Orleans Saints’ season-opening victory over Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Houston Texans rookie Mario Williams was sweating bullets under the glare of the media spotlight in the locker room as he tried to explain his less-than-spectacular performance in the Texans’ 24-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

“It was a different intensity level (from the preseason), as far as them blocking…everything was just different,” Williams said.

Welcome to the NFL, rookie.

Williams finished the day with two tackles, one assist and immeasurable frustration. Not exactly what the Texans had in mind when they bypassed Mr. Bush to make Williams the No.1 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.

Texans rookie linebacker DeMeco Ryans looked more like the draft’s top pick. He recorded a game-high 12 tackles and roamed the field like an established veteran.

It’s still early. Williams may well end up with his bust enshrined in Canton, Ohio one of these days. But on Sunday, he was a bust.

He rarely got close to Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, and he often looked lost and out of place.

But give Williams credit. Despite his obvious frustration, he faced the media and politely answered each question posed to him.

Texans defensive coordinator Richard Smith, however, was nowhere to be found after the game.

The Texans’ running game was also conspicuously absent on Sunday. Wali Lundy and Vernand Morency rushed for a combined 55 yards on 16 carries. Bush rushed for more yards (61) on fewer carries (14).

The Texans sure could have used Reggie Bush on Sunday.

They could have used Mario Williams, too.


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