As always, any news gleamed from Houston Chronicle reporter John McClain should be taken with a grain of salt, but this tweet about a potential move to Houston's new defensive scheme has some legs. We'll get to that below the jump.
At 6-7, 290, Mario Williams will become the largest OLB in NFL history. [new Texans defensive coordinator] Wade Phillips plans to use him on the weak side.
Coming off the heels of post-NFL Draft press conference where Phillips kept talking about Williams and Watt at 3-4 defensive ends and next to each other in four-man fronts, Wade now plans to use Williams as a 3-4 OLB. It's not an all too-surprising move given the situation.
One thing Houston Texans fans have been wondering is how Mario Williams, Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed, J.J. Watt, and Antonio Smith all fit together. I am on record as saying that this doesn't matter. A rotation will keep players fresh and all of these players offer the new defensive coordinator a lot of versatility to put a lot of defensive packages together to keep opposing offenses guessing. In their nine seasons, the Texans defense has been anything but unpredictable.
Can Mario Williams play outside linebacker? Yes. He's a great player with fantastic speed and power who would thrive there. In the weak-side, he'll primarily handle pass-rushing duties with the benefit of having Watt or Smith playing on the offensive tackle. Mario will have to make a few adjustments on rushing from standing up, but a 6'7'', 290 pound man who can run a 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds is athletic enough to make that adjustment with proper coaching.
I don't expect Mario to exclusively play the outside linebacker position. Wade's mentioned him at 3-4 defensive end and defensive end in a four-man nickel package. I'm sure Wade's got some other special packages in mind as well. Still, maybe those Texans fans who didn't understand why Houston would select a defensive end will have a better understanding that Wade went Watt to free up Williams. A defensive coordinator who isn't wasting time getting creative. Refreshing, no?