In CBCSports.ca's Week 4 chatter, our guys break down the slow starts by Mario Williams and Mark Sanchez, and debate whether the Vikings are for real and the Texans are the best team in football.
Follow our panelists on Twitter: @tcare66 @JesseCampigotto @JasonD79.The Bills made one of the biggest free-agent splashes in the off-season by signing end Mario Williams to the richest contract ever given to a defensive player - six years, $100 million (with $50 million guaranteed). Yet through four games, Williams has managed just seven tackles and 1.5 sacks. Should the Bills be feeling a sense of buyer's remorse?Tony Care:
Do you think the Houston Texans knew something the rest of us didn't when they decided to let Williams test the free-agent market? The biggest concern from my end is that Williams has been non-existent in the Bills' two losses against New England and the New York Jets. This was the guy who was supposed to provide the big pass rush from the edge. It's too early to call Williams a bust and I won't go there yet. However, the honeymoon period is definitely over.Jason Davidson:
Of course the Buffalo brass should be feeling some of that remorse. Williams is simply not justifying his huge salary. With that kind of dough, you should be making some sort of an impact, even if we're just at the quarter mark. The only job he seems to be doing well right now is alienating himself. He's the only guy on the Bills roster who doesn't have to speak to reporters more than twice a week. The fact that he is, for the most part, silent, shows that he is shying away from taking the heat and being accountable for his performance. But, hey, at least the Texans aren't missing him. They're doing just fine at 4-0. Then again, Williams spent the end of both 2010 and 2011 on IR.Jesse Campigotto:
1.5 sacks is a disappointing total, but you can't call anyone a bust after four games. Plus, there's more to being a good pass rusher than personal sack totals. The best guys, even when they're not recording sacks, are hitting/hurrying the quarterback and drawing double teams that open up opportunities for their teammates. Right now the Bills ranks sixth in the league in Adjusted Sack Rate, as calculated by the website Football Outsiders, and defensive tackle Kyle Williams already has 3.5 sacks. Kyle Williams is one of the more underrated players in football, but he's only two sacks shy of his career high for a season, with 12 games still to play. Mario Williams should get some credit for that, no?The Minnesota Vikings have caught the attention of the rest of the NFC North with a 3-1 record. Is it time to take the Vikings seriously?Tony Care:
The Week 3 victory against San Fran was certainly a wakeup call to the rest of the division. Quarterback Christian Ponder is having a nice start to his second year. He's making the right reads and is avoiding those back-breaking turnovers. The defence also gets overlooked but you have to love the physical way it goes after opponents. I'm still not ready to put the Vikings in the same class as the Packers and Bears. I want to see if they have the ability to beat those teams before anointing them an NFC North power.Jason Davidson:
I'm not buying the Vikings hype just yet. Their only win that's looked convincing was their 24-13 victory over the 49ers in Week 3. Their other two wins came against a lowly Jacksonville Jaguars squad at home along with this past Sunday's road win over the Lions in Detroit, a team who seems to have regressed after making such progress in 2011. The Leos' kick/punt defence was terrible, thus resulting in two Minny TDs. Percy Harvin's game-opening kick return TD for over 100 yards pretty much said it all. Adrian Peterson will go a long way in determining if this team has a shot or not and I just don't see it.Jesse Campigotto:
Ponder seems to be pulling off a reasonable Alex Smith impersonation. He's not exactly tearing it up (Ponder's 6.7 yards per pass attempt ranks 26th in the league) but he's limiting his mistakes (0 INTs, two fumbles) and keeping his team in games. The interceptions will come at some point, though, and it'll be interesting to see if Ponder can play from behind or if he's a front-runner like Smith (and, really, most of the QBs in the NFL).
The New York Jets are 2-2 but were annihilated at home by a 34-0 margin against the San Francisco 49ers. Fans are already clamouring for a QB switch, a move that would bring in Tim Tebow for the anemic Mark Sanchez. So should Rex Ryan make the change?
It doesn't matter. The record is a mirage. This team has few viable offensive weapons for any QB to succeed with. The Jets lost their so-called big-threat receiver when Santonio Holmes injured his foot
against the 49ers, and have no running game to speak of. So what can Tebow possibly do to help this train wreck? I do want to call out Sanchez one final time. I don't care how often Ryan tries to defend his QB. Sanchez is not a franchise pivot and will never lead the Jets to a Super Bowl. Jason Davidson:
That 48-28 triumph over the Bills back in Week 1, when Sanchez threw for three touchdowns, sure seems like a long time ago. Tebow isn't going to change anything on that team. Not even he could have prevented the disaster that occurred on Sunday. This team is in complete disarray. Darrelle Revis, their star cornerback, is done for the year and Holmes will miss at least a few weeks with an injured foot. That's a pretty big blow to Tony Sporano's offence. Still, following Ryan's entertaining post-game press conference on Sunday, he seemed pretty adamant that Sanchez is still the guy. And remember, he was given a three-month contract extension back in the summer. However, Sanchez might rather want to sit on the bench and down a few hot dogs next Monday night rather than take snaps. They are home to the Houston Texans.Jesse Campigotto:
Isn't this the exact scenario everyone envisioned when the Jets acquired Tebow? That Sanchez would struggle out of the gate, the notoriously impatient New York fans and media would howl for Tebow, and the collapse under the weight of the controversy? And it only took four games for it to start playing out. Ryan should resist turning to Tebow for now, though. Miami has four more games before its bye: three of those at home (Houston, Indy, Miami) and only one on the road (New England). Give Sanchez that much time to step up, and if he doesn't, you've got the bye week to install the radically different offence that's necessary for Tebow to succeed.
For the first time in their history, the Houston Texans begin the season winners of four straight games. The Texans have won by a combined 126-56 mark. Is this the best team in the NFL? Tony Care:
No team is playing better. In our pre-season picks, I took the Texans as a Super Bowl finalist. Maybe I should've gone further. Offensively, they can beat you with the run or pass. On defence, end J.J. Watt is an absolute terror and leads a unit that thrives on converting turnovers into points. The only concern I have for the Texans is whether they can keep their guys healthy, particularly with the offence. QB Matt Schaub, RB Arian Foster and WR Andre Johnson still have to prove they can collectively last for a full 16-game schedule.Jason Davidson:
May as well pick up my thoughts from my last answer. Yes, the Texans are the best football team right now. With the exception of their 31-25 win in Denver in Week 3, they have dominated their opponents in each of their victories. The three-headed offensive monster that is Schaub, Foster and Johnson looks fantastic. But let's give the defence some love too, especially defensive end Watt. Definitely no sophomore jinx for the Texans' first-round pick out of Wisconsin from 2011: 20 total tackles, 7.5 sacks and 5 deflected passes. As mentioned already in this roundtable, Mario Williams isn't even close to those kind of numbers. The Texans are looking darn good to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl come February.Jesse Campigotto:
The Texans are good, and they'll run away with the soft AFC South, but I hesitate to anoint a team whose wins have come over Miami, Jacksonville, Denver and Tennessee. We'll find out more about the Texans over the next three weeks before their bye: at the Jets on Monday night, home to Green Bay, home to Baltimore.
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