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Defending Mario Williams, outside linebacker

Houston Texans Training Camp Getty Images

Mario Williams took a lot of criticism for his performance on Monday night, with ESPN’s Ron Jaworski primary among those voicing concern.

It’s not a big surprise that Williams looked a little uncomfortable playing outside linebacker in his debut at his new position, but his coach and teammates swear it’s not a major problem.

“Our [starters] didn’t really play much football, and the ball went away from him a great deal,” coach Gary Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s a learning process for Mario. I’m encouraged by what I saw. . . . I know Mario is excited with what we’re doing. I think you’ll see him continue to improve.”

Teammate Antonio Smith said Williams has been a terror using the bull rush in camp.

“It has not been stopped in camp yet,” Smith told ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky. “Since he decided to do it, I ain’t seem him lose. You know what you need to do to beat a person. I think that throughout this camp, he’s figuring out how to use that. He’s added it into his bag of tricks and he’s going to figure out how to use it along with his other moves.”

It’s hard to imagine the Texans not being better on defense this year.  But it’s also hard to imagine their defense being that good unless Williams is able to successfully convert to his new position.

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42 Responses to “Defending Mario Williams, outside linebacker”
  1. ajknox88 says: Aug 17, 2011 6:12 PM

    I feel like hes just not a #1 overall pick talent. At least hes not a bust

  2. vargafamily1 says: Aug 17, 2011 6:16 PM

    Reminds me of Aaron Kampman. He was an absolute motor-beast in GB’s 4-3, but looked awkward at OLB in the 3-4. Maybe this pans out better, but big men usually don’t move too well in space.

  3. txtuff says: Aug 17, 2011 6:16 PM

    Defense will be better, but will be in spite of Williams not because of him.

  4. snowpea84 says: Aug 17, 2011 6:20 PM

    The guy is going to be awesome.

  5. talkintrashallday says: Aug 17, 2011 6:20 PM

    lol….Texans

  6. dirtybird70 says: Aug 17, 2011 6:21 PM

    What a waste of talent. Come to Atlanta, Mario. We’d love to have you in our 4-3 defense.

  7. ampats says: Aug 17, 2011 6:22 PM

    I thought Williams looked like a fish out of water. He is in the wrong scheme.

    Trade him to New England for a 2nd round pick and player.( Butler, Tate)

  8. ampats says: Aug 17, 2011 6:23 PM

    Just dreaming……….

  9. asublimeday says: Aug 17, 2011 6:27 PM

    Just don’t count on daniel manning for consistency

  10. 808raiderinparadise says: Aug 17, 2011 6:28 PM

    he is a 4-3 end.

    Houston still a sexy pick for playoffs in AFC?

    Not to me. Their D is going to be poor again and their backfield is a stack of toothpicks.

  11. quiettexan says: Aug 17, 2011 6:29 PM

    mario’s pads are so high when he’s standing up because he’s so tall i don’t see how he’s going to be able to get any leverage at all.

    that said, it is preseason and wade is not going to give many hints on how he’s going to use his shiny new toy, so i’ll try to hold my worry untill game 3 of the regular season.

  12. readysethike says: Aug 17, 2011 6:33 PM

    besides playing OLB and rushing the QB he’ll also need to be able to do well in coverage. Although he’s very athletic it remains to be seen exactly how well he’ll do.

    the season hasn’t even started yet, give him time.

  13. My Last Victim Escaped says: Aug 17, 2011 6:33 PM

    Why move a 6’7 290lb DE to LB? Thats too big to be in space.

  14. deepseabreeze says: Aug 17, 2011 6:38 PM

    i never understood the move. he was one of the best DE’s in the league in a 4-3 and now they ask him to play out of position at OLB in a 3-4? He didn’t need to move he was already one of the best at his position!

  15. mjjoe76 says: Aug 17, 2011 6:39 PM

    Right on the money, vargafamily1. When Kampman was moved to OLB, he looked awkward and was certainly less productive. Everyone talked about it being a simple transition that would eventually work out, but it clearly didn’t.

    Kampman kept his frustrations out of the public arena, for the most part, then he simply left Green Bay as a free agent. I don’t know Williams. If he can’t make the transition, maybe his response would be similar.

  16. andersonhtespiderjohnson says: Aug 17, 2011 6:39 PM

    YOU PEOPLE ARE CRAZY!!! MARIO IS FREAK ATHLETE WHO WILL BECOME DOMINATE IN THIS POSITION RUNS LIKE A DEAR AND HIS BULL RUSH IS OUTSTANDING, YOU SEE HIM PLAY TWO SERIES AND YOU CAN SAY HES GOING TO FAIL? AFTER TWO WEEKS OF WADE PHILIPS THEY PULL IN 7 SACKS AS A UNIT, CAUSE TO FUMBLES, AND HOLD JETS FIRST TEAM TO ZERO TD’S, THINK THEYLL BE JUST FINE, MARIO WILL HAVE DOUBLE DIGIT SACKS THIS YEAR, AND LOOKING BACK ON THAT DRAFT HE WAS THE BEST PLAYER FROM ONE TO LAST

  17. tedmurph says: Aug 17, 2011 6:41 PM

    Trying to make him JWare(6-2, 262) is just trying to pound a square peg in a round hole.

  18. rjkilla says: Aug 17, 2011 6:46 PM

    mario will get hurt taking blocks around his knees all year…foster will get hurt because they over use him…lets hope schaub and johnson can stay healthy but i woudn’t count on it

  19. rc33 says: Aug 17, 2011 6:53 PM

    Kubiak needs to back at look at the Patriots and find out what they were doing right with similarly-sized Willie McGinest. He played the “elephant” LB in Belichick’s 3-4.

    Then go hire Belichick.

  20. rajbais says: Aug 17, 2011 6:58 PM

    Move him to 3-4 end. He’s big enough to play that or have a hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense!!!

  21. icelovinbrotha215 says: Aug 17, 2011 7:56 PM

    No worries. THIS is the year they make a push for the playoffs.

  22. martinmayhew4president says: Aug 17, 2011 8:00 PM

    Why did they move him to the OLB postion? He was a beast as a DE. Good luck with the transition Mario.

  23. cardmagnet says: Aug 17, 2011 8:20 PM

    When a guy succeeds at one position, clearly the best thing to do is put him in another. Maybe they should try out Andre Johnson at tight end or Arian Foster at receiver. No wonder Houston can never get over that hump.

  24. andyreidisfat says: Aug 17, 2011 8:23 PM

    tedmurph says:
    Aug 17, 2011 6:41 PM
    Trying to make him JWare(6-2, 262) is just trying to pound a square peg in a round hole.

    But since Ware is really 6’4 almost 6’5 makes a little bit more like stick round per in a round hole, but hey don’t ever let pesky FACTS get in the way of what you want to think buddy !

    Its hard to tell to me how Williams will play. But he was a top 5 DE. This has the same signs the Redskins D had when shanny came to town. They are trying to switch to the 3-4 to quickly. Though in that division with the colts perhaps they think they will be in nickel more than standard sets.

    I think with Barwin and Reed they would have a really good rotation at DE if they stayed in the 4-3. At the same time I think playing the 4-3 will also cover up the awful DT depth they have with the talent they put out at middle linebacker.

    Over all I still like the Texans to win that division and if Williams learns to play just like Ware, then they can be one of the best teams in the conference and maybe the NFL.

  25. rockybev35 says: Aug 17, 2011 9:17 PM

    Talkintrash-
    You make silly comments. You have no football IQ. Mario will be fine. The Texans will be in the playoffs this year barring too many injuries. When they are say it with me… I told you so.

  26. 90sniners says: Aug 17, 2011 9:28 PM

    Texans are making a HUGE mistake. You’re supposed to build your defense around your best player, not the other way around. Houston, you’re doing it wrong.

  27. jskill3 says: Aug 17, 2011 9:48 PM

    @ anderson…….

    Your highbeams are on. Dim your bright lights, man. Hurting our eyes. Gonna cause an accident.

  28. rascalmanny says: Aug 17, 2011 9:58 PM

    When Charley Casserly picked Mario Williams over Vince Young I knew he was not capable of being a GM.

    The Texans needed a QB, and VY wanted to be with Houston and always played his best when in Houston.

    Plus if Casserly had picked VY it would have saved the Titans years of grief. LOL. Bud Adams picked VY to “stick it” to Houston but he only stuck it to his own organization. Now, years later, the Titans are starting over.

  29. flipside1050 says: Aug 17, 2011 10:01 PM

    Just dont ask him to cover tight ends and running backs… He should be alright.

  30. deucedeuce13 says: Aug 17, 2011 10:04 PM

    Wow. Come to Baltimore Mario. We’d love to have you.

  31. db3300 says: Aug 17, 2011 10:13 PM

    Texans fans still seem to be ignoring the elephant in the room. For some reason, the team was hellbent on moving to the 3.4 without having the appropriate personnel to do it well. It takes most teams 2 or 3 offseasons to completely make the switch but Kubiak and Smith only have this season before they’re shown the door. So far, they’ve been a disaster.

    It’s also obvious the fans are sensitive to losing just by looking at all of the thumbs-down on reasonable arguments.

  32. ilovefoolsball says: Aug 17, 2011 10:33 PM

    5 years later and they’re still trying to figure out what to do with Mario Williams. 3-4 standing up? 3-4 sitting down?
    Meanwhile Reggie Bush has a Superbowl Ring and yet people label him as a bust. Mario Williams is yet to even play in a playoff game.

    Good move Houston.

  33. freedomispopular says: Aug 17, 2011 10:39 PM

    Obviously many of the commenters have no idea what the difference is between a 3-4 DE and a 4-3 DE.

    As a sidenote, in hindsight, the Texans made a very smart move picking Mario Williams over Vince Young or Reggie Bush.

  34. b1gwin says: Aug 17, 2011 10:56 PM

    He’s not fluid enough to play OLB. PERIOD! This is the NFL equivalent of a 7 footer in the NBA dunk contest. Every once in a while you get a Larry Nance that can produce on the level of smaller guys but most others are stiffs. It really wont matter though. He’s playing on a loser.

  35. rockybev35 says: Aug 17, 2011 11:08 PM

    I’m glad were all Monday morning quarterbacks after 1 preseason game:). I have watched Mario for years and can accurately say when he turns it on he is a man amongst boys. This is a work in progress for sure but I guarantee when the lights go on he’ll be fine. It is like starting a new role after years of training and preparing everyday for a different position. Training camp has been compressed. Reserve judgemet until after a few regular season games. Right now, glad to be talking football but this is all futile. Time will tell. Texans D will be vastly improved this year. For those calling Arian a one year wonder… Come on man??? Really. 1600 yards from scrimmage is nuts. If he gets 3/4 of that production this year Texans are in the playoffs.

  36. madd5555likesthedudes says: Aug 17, 2011 11:15 PM

    how funny is it that picking Mario over VY and Reggie Bush cost Charlie Casserly his job?

    This seems like a similar path to a familiar ending?

  37. tedmurph says: Aug 17, 2011 11:40 PM

    @andyreidisfat:

    I can’t even understand your post..what are talking about?

    You’re right, I got Ware’s hight wrong. My bad. Williams is still not a fit @ elephant position. Watch what happens. It’l be waste of a player playing out of position.

    That being said, I do agree the Texans win the division. Colts are all done.

  38. blackandpurple52 says: Aug 17, 2011 11:50 PM

    he is an outstanding football player…there is no doubt in my mind that he will make it work

  39. galvestontexans says: Aug 18, 2011 12:02 PM

    The Texans have other player who will do good at OLB. So if Mario struggles (I dont think he will) they will just put him back on the DL and move someone else over to OLB. I dont think we should be judging him on a new position after two series of plays.

  40. itsmebobd says: Aug 18, 2011 12:23 PM

    andersonhtespiderjohnson says: Aug 17, 2011 6:39 PM

    YOU PEOPLE ARE CRAZY!!! MARIO IS FREAK ATHLETE WHO WILL BECOME DOMINATE IN THIS POSITION RUNS LIKE A DEAR AND HIS BULL RUSH IS OUTSTANDING, YOU SEE HIM PLAY TWO SERIES AND YOU CAN SAY HES GOING TO FAIL? AFTER TWO WEEKS OF WADE PHILIPS THEY PULL IN 7 SACKS AS A UNIT, CAUSE TO FUMBLES, AND HOLD JETS FIRST TEAM TO ZERO TD’S, THINK THEYLL BE JUST FINE, MARIO WILL HAVE DOUBLE DIGIT SACKS THIS YEAR, AND LOOKING BACK ON THAT DRAFT HE WAS THE BEST PLAYER FROM ONE TO LAST

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    *******************************************
    ___________________________________

    I bet you have more grammatical errors in this one paragraph (not including the caps), than the texans do touchdowns in the first 2 weeks of the regular season! :P
    Chill the eff out, what are you mario’s gf?

  41. damcghee says: Aug 19, 2011 12:28 AM

    Who believes Mario is a freak athlete…he looked lost and SLOW….lumbered after Shonn Greene like Yao Ming lumbering across the court…..thunk thunk a lot like the Frankenstein monster. they’ll hide him somewhere and have him rush from the 3 pt stance and say he is doing well and dump him next year…….he is not a natural instinctive football player…….rush the passer from way outside the tackle is all he can do and not very well at that…

  42. rogerbrad says: Aug 19, 2011 3:01 PM

    Somebody needs to B-slap ESPN’s Ron Jaworski. Hey, it’s the guys 1st game in the position. Mario is great and will be great. He’s just got to learn the position. I feel he’ll look good in game 1 of the regular season. GOOOOOOOOO Mario…

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