Mario Williams Struggles in Transition From Defensive End to Outside Linebacker

Mario Williams Struggles in Transition From Defensive End to Outside Linebacker

The Houston Texan hasn’t been close to his dominant self, which has caused many to criticize the move.

Published August 24, 2011

There has been considerable debate both nationally and around Houston about the move of All-Pro defensive end Mario Williams to outside linebacker this season.


The transition has been anything but smooth.


It’s only been two preseason games and the critics already have their doubts. The prevailing question is why mess with a player who seemed destined to be one of the most dominant defensive ends in the game?


Williams, who is 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds, has seemed unsure and uncomfortable in his new role going from rushing the passer from a three-point stance to pressuring the quarterback from standing up. Williams, who has become known for getting to the quarterback in his six years as a pro, hasn’t put up any big stats this preseason. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft has yet to sack the quarterback this preseason, though he did have three pressures on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Saturday.


“I mean, you’re not going to sack Drew Brees every play,” said first-year Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who has installed the 3−4 defense this season. “He had three big pressures against him in the limited time he played. He’s getting there.”


Williams also sees the progress he is making, but he readily admits it’s a huge transition.


“I know I can do it, but like I said, the more repetitions, the better and the easier it’ll be, the faster it will be second nature for me. I definitely know I can do it; it’s just like I said, more reps.”


Contact Terrance Harris at or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris


(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Written by Terrance Harris


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