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Ryan: 'There's nobody in this building that questioned whether Mario was sick'

Mario Williams was not happy Sunday at FedEx Field.

Not happy with the report that he was not actually sick. Not happy with how Rex Ryan is running the Buffalo Bills' defense.

"Are we going to have insurgents around?" Williams asked aloud.

Ryan was quick to defend the player who has criticized him multiple times, on this front. He said Williams didn't even eat for three days straight and came to the facility with a mask on.

"There's nobody in this building that questioned whether Mario was sick," Ryan said. "That was what was pointed out to him. I can tell you this: I saw him with a mask on when he came in. We can get on Mario about things --- this or that --- but I'm going to tell you this: this young man wanted to play in the worst possible way. He never ate for three straight days, that's what I know about him. He shows up trying to get the game plan, and then to be questioned that somebody made up this thing fictitiously in my opinion, I think would set off anybody. It's certainly something that I don't believe in. Not for one second do I believe anybody --- on the coaching staff, in the locker room --- would question whether he was sick or not. Because he clearly was sick.

"The thing that I respected the most was here's a young man who would come in, try to get the game plan done and things that he was missing, he tried to make up during the week. That's really where we're at. So I admire the fact that he came back and he toughed it out. I think maybe somebody else made up that part about questioning or whatever because I don't believe there's one person in this building that would ever question the fact that he wasn't legitimately sick. Because I know for a fact he was."

Williams was mostly invisible again in the Bills' 35-25 loss with one tackle. He has 17 tackles and four sacks the entire season.

He was most angry with Ryan substituting players so much to match Washington's personnel, play to play, saying he's never seen a defense do it this much in his 10 seasons. Ryan heard Williams comments and believes the vet is just frustrated like any other player on this 6-8 team.

Ryan did, however, stand by his subbing of players in and out.

"You're not going to put a small personnel grouping out there when they're going with extra linemen," Ryan said. "So sometimes they're a little late when they're running on. Those things happen. You have to match. In this league, you have to match personnel. So when it comes to that specifically, your calls are going to be matched.

"Especially that team, they're going extra linemen, sometimes two extra linemen, that maybe the plays don't come in as fast as you want them to because you've got to match. That's every team I've ever been on."

The Bills could save $12.9 million by releasing Williams after the season and Williams sure did not sound like a player who'll be around in 2016. He dismissed the idea of taking a pay cut if this is the result. And while Ryan will probably be seeking new pieces in his defense by March, he said Monday he'd "love" for Williams to be back next season.

"Does that mean that there won't be changes along the way? No," Ryan added. "We know, of course, the league almost turns over a third of it. A coach never wants to lose a player. That's the nature of the game. That's the unfortunate part of the game. But do I wish that Mario had 20 sacks? Heck yeah I do. No question I do. But that's not where we're at right now. But there hasn't been one thought of any player that we've had discussions about --- this player's going to be here next year, this one's not --- that hasn't happened with any player."

 

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