Thursday, May 5, 2011
On Mario Williams as a 3-4 linebacker
By Paul Kuharsky
John McClain’s story on the Texans’ change of plans for Mario Williams arrives Friday.
The plan is for Williams to play the same role as DeMarcus Ware did for Wade Phillips in Dallas, said McClain. That’s as a weakside outside linebacker who rushes 95 percent of the time.
Williams will surely lose weight, but I don’t know about the idea of messing with him. He’s two inches taller than Ware and finished last season listed nearly 30 pounds heavier. Any snaps with Williams dropping, beyond a handful to cause confusion, are snaps wasting a premier pass rusher’s best talent.
This is quite a change from what the Texans said when Phillips came in with his 3-4.
Then, the company line was that Williams would be what Bruce Smith was in the same system for Phillips in Buffalo.
When I talked to Bruce Smith about that comparison, he didn’t say a word about standing up as a linebacker.
What’s changed in Houston? The Texans drafted J.J. Watt No. 11 overall.
That gives the Texans three quality ends in Williams, Antonio Smith and Watt. The initial thinking was that the Texans would be deep and get creative.
I didn’t think it meant a big change, certainly not one that would turn Williams all the way into a linebacker. He's stood up for plays before, but nowhere near on the scale we might expect now.
Phillips is a very good defensive coach. So I want to see what this looks like. But I am skeptical of any move that takes a guy out of a position where he’s been successful.
We’ll revisit when we see the quotes and explanations in McClain’s piece, I suspect.