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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Would Mario Williams be happy as OLB?

By James Walker

The Buffalo Bills made a quality hire for defensive coordinator Wednesday by nabbing Mike Pettine of the New York Jets. Pettine’s 3-4 defenses have been strong in New York the past four seasons.

But a major quandary facing Pettine is whether or not he will run his 3-4 scheme in Buffalo, which currently has 4-3 personnel. Here is another big question: Would defensive end Mario Williams be happy playing outside linebacker?

Williams was recruited to Buffalo, in part, with the expectation of playing a 4-3 defensive end. The fact that Williams got to play next to defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus was appealing to Williams. Of course, $100 million cemented his decision.

But Williams played outside linebacker before in 2010 with the Houston Texans. He actually played well before getting injured. Williams had five sacks in five games.

Would Williams be happy as an outside linebacker again in Buffalo? Williams is a natural 4-3 defensive end who would play out of position in Pettine's scheme. Or will Pettine sacrifice his scheme and run a 4-3 for his highest-paid player to remain in his natural position?

Pettine also has the option to run a hybrid 3-4 and 4-3 defense. I think that would make the most sense and is the best compromise. But that would still require Williams to play a percentage of snaps at outside linebacker next season.