|The 49ers will be keeping close tabs on DE Mario Williams at all times on Sunday. (US Presswire)|
The highest-paid defensive player in NFL history has just nine tackles and 1.5 sacks through four games, but as far as the San Francisco 49ers are concerned, those numbers mean nothing.
“He's got such great length, and people are staying away from him,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “He's getting a lot of attention. Guys chipping him, tight ends banging him, sliding the guard to him to try to get one and half men essentially.”
RT Anthony Davis will get the lion's share of the matchups against Williams when the Bills travel to Candlestick Park on Sunday, but there will be times where RG Alex Boone is assigned to Williams, especially when the Bills blitz from the edge.
Boone said Williams is the type of player who warrants extra film study and that his statistically slow start doesn't reflect what he's seen on film.
“He's long, he's powerful, he's strong,” Boone said. “I know (Davis) is doing a great job watching him, but it's really about honing in on what works well against him and what he's going to do.”
Williams told Buffalo media this week that he's dealing with a minor injury to his left wrist sustained in the Bills' final preseason game. That injury was news to Roman, who said the injury won't affect the team's preparation.
In the Bills' 52-28 loss at home against New England last week, the Patriots racked up 580 total yards of offense and erased a 14-point, third-quarter deficit.
It's natural for the blame to start with Williams, but Bills coach Chan Gailey said it's not that simple.
“Well, the thing that's happened is he ends up drawing two and three blockers quite a bit of the time, so his statistics are not where they need to be," Gailey said. "But when they've singled him and he's had the opportunities, he's created problems for the offense. We just need everybody else to keep playing and we need everybody to up their game.”
It should be noted that Gailey's claim of double and triple teams has been disputed by Joe Buscaglia of Buffalo sports radio station WGR 550, who reviewed game film from the Bills' loss to New England. Buscaglia reports Williams dealt with just one blocker on 25 of 29 dropback passes and hurried QB Tom Brady just twice. He received a true double team once and was chipped on three occasions.
The Bills will try to turn things around Sunday against the 49ers, who rank 19th in the NFL in total offense and are tied for sixth in turnover differential (+4). Buffalo ranks 27th in the NFL in total defense and 30th in scoring defense.
While the lack of defense against the Patriots was mind-boggling, the Patriots offense has a reputation for making defenses look silly. The same can't be said for the New York Jets, who were shut out last weekend at home against the 49ers. In the Jets' previous home game, they scored 48 points -- against Buffalo.