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Jets O-Line Task: Make Mario Less Super

Posted Sep 17, 2013

Our O-linemen will have their work cut out for them this week as DE Mario Williams and the Buffalo Bills come to town.

Williams brought Panthers QB Cam Newton to the ground for 4.5 sacks in Week 2, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Smith for the club’s single-game record and vaulting him to the top of the NFL leaderboard in sacks for this young season.

“He’s just the same old Mario Williams,” T Austin Howard said after watching film of Buffalo’s final-seconds 24-23 win over Carolina. “He’s a speed-rush guy, but he also has good power. He kind of has it all.”

Super Mario looked more like Luigi in two games vs. the Green & White last season with no sacks and four tackles. Protecting QB Geno Smith from the 2006 first-overall pick won’t be our only challenge, though.

“The whole line is very, very talented,” G Vladimir Ducasse said. “We just have to go out there and do what we’re capable of doing. That’s definitely going to be a challenge, but we have the whole week of practice to prepare and figure things out together.”

Vlad seemed to have figured things out on Thursday night when he faced off against Patriots DT Vince Wilfork. On Bilal Powell’s touchdown run, Ducasse made the 325-pound 10-year veteran look like he was gliding backward on rollerblades.

He refused to accept any sort of individual praise, but was very satisfied with what the offensive line as a whole was able to accomplish against Wilfork and the Pats.

“I was just doing my job,” he said. “Most of the time I was working with Nick. It was not so much an individual effort but a group effort.

“There’s still a lot of room for improvement, but as a group, we worked real well together and we definitely took another step. We definitely got it going in the running game.”

RBs Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory combined for 44 yards on 22 carries in Week 1 (2.0 yards per rush), but doubled their production in Week 2 with 100 yards on 25 carries (4.0 yards per rush).

And the trend could continue for the Jets run game this week, as they will have had a week and a half to prepare for a Bills team ranked No. 30 in the NFL with 141.5 rushing yards allowed per game.

Whether the gameplan calls for keeping Williams and Co. away from Geno or driving the four-man Bills front backward and opening up holes for the backs, the men in the trenches will be ready.

“We know they have a lot of talent up front,” Howard said, “and we really have to study and we really need to focus in this week for preparing to go up against what they deliver. I believe we definitely took advantage of our extra days off this week. Hopefully it will show on Sunday.”
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