ESPN.com to Houston: Don't Hate Mario
Native Houstonian Bomani Jones is a damn good sports writer for ESPN.com and columnist for AOL's Black Voices (one of the few readable things on AOL.com). Today, he offers up a fresh take on the whole Mario Williams vs. Reggie Bush debate in his ESPN Page 2 column:
He says the Texans were right to choose Mario.
Hold your "WTF?", dude. See, there's a great equalizer in the world of sports pontificating: stats. Guys can be labeled the Next Big This or the Second Coming of That. But they have to produce in the ring, on the court or on the field. And right now, as Jones so keenly points out, Mario is beating Bush.
Jones notes that Williams has 4.5 sacks in nine games. (That's true, but it should be noted that his first sack came against the Miami Dolphins, when Texans future Pro-Bowler DeMeco Ryans flushed QB Daunte Culpepper out of the pocket and Williams essentially fell on top of him. But there's no asterisk for "falling on top of QB" in the sack stats book.)
Meanwhile, Reggie Bush is averaging 2.8 yards per carry. That's not exactly what folks were expecting when Bush was announced as the incarnation of Gayle Sayers and Barry Sanders coming out of college.
Granted, if Reggie so much as farts on the sideline, it gets serious play on Sportscenter highlights, but the fact remains that he's not the No. 1 threat in New Orleans — and they have an offensive line. Let's not get started on ours again, huh?
Jones also points out the similarities between Mario and Carolina Panthers DE Julius Peppers, who, especially after last night, has proven to be the one player just about every team in the league would choose to build a franchise around. (Here's a twist of irony for you: The Texans could've picked J-Pep with their very first ever draft. They selected one David Carr.)
Okay, so Mario ain't Julius. That's obvious. But right now, as Jones deftly articulates, Mario ain't Reggie, either.
He's better. — Steven Devadanam
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