There goes another shot at Mario Williams’ intensity and passion for the game. Since his earliest days in the NFL for the Texans, Williams’ on-the-field intensity has been questioned. On Sunday, Matt Loede brought you the report from the National Football Post that Texans owner Bob McNair is pleased with the passion second-year outside linebacker Brian Cushing brings to the team. However, McNair also said that Williams, nor Amobi Okoye, shared the same passion as Cushing. McNair said:
“There’s not anybody on that field more intense than Brian, and the players know that. When he’s off the field, he’s sort of mild-mannered and very nice. He steps on that field, and he’s a different person. He’s a tiger. Even when he comes off the field sometimes, other players will try to joke with him, and he’s about to ready to attack them. He cares that much about it.”
“He pays the price. He works hard. That’s the kind of intensity I think is good. Pollard brings that kind of intensity, too. You have to have it on defense. Defense is emotional. I’m hoping it’ll rub off on Mario (Williams). If Mario could develop that kind of intensity with his athletic ability, oh my goodness.”
“And you’ve got Amobi (Okoye), who is just an outstanding person, but he doesn’t have that tiger in him yet. But he’s young, and as he matures, I think he will become a little more intense.”
McNair’s comments spur three interesting arguments:
- Is McNair playing “teacher’s pet” with Cushing? McNair’s comments already have led the Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice to nickname Cushing as the “owner’s pet.” McNair is the owner of the team and should think twice before speaking proudly about one player, while singling out others.
- Cushing used steroids, which undoubtedly increased his intensity and passion on-the-field to ring another player’s neck to the ground. How can McNair forget that Cushing was suspended for performance enhancing drugs, and dismiss his players that have not resorted to cheating?
- Athleticism and intensity are two different things, will McNair’s comments about Williams and Okoye, although hopeful, “rub off” the wrong way on the two young players?
What do you think? Williams numbers last year (9 sacks, 38 tackles) were nowhere near his 2008 and 2007 numbers (12 sacks, 44 tackles/16 sacks, 43 tackles respectively). Okoye, 23, can now handle a full NFL game, but he is definitely still maturing into a formidable starting NFL defensive tackle.