Wade Phillips Looks for Ways to Better Utilize Mario Williams
Or, at least not as much you might think.
Williams, hired early last month as the Houston Texans' defensive coordinator, said this week what he said last month: that Williams, a defensive end and the No. 1 overall selection in the 2006 NFL Draft is a special, elite player.
And such players break molds.
"The great players fit into any defense," Phillips said Tuesday during a conference call with Texans fans. "I've had Bruce Smith, Reggie White, you name them. Elvin Bethea is in the Hall of Fame, too, at defensive line.
"The great players like Mario, what you do is you try to get them in position to make plays."
Williams has played the first five seasons of his NFL career in a 4-3 defensive scheme, and while the Texans will move to a 3-4 system under Phillips, the new defensive coordinator isn't concerned about his potential defensive cornerstone.
"It doesn't matter what the front is," Phillips said. "It's where you place them. I think that's the key thing with him. We try to get him in a spot where he can make plays, and really, 3-4 or 4-3 really doesn't make that much difference.
"It's where you place the player. We're going to try to put him in a position where he can make plays the best."
When Williams, who played much of the season with a groin injury, missed the final three games of the season with the injury, it marked the first time in his career he had missed time because of an ailment. And while the Texans were criticized when they selected him No. 1 overall over Reggie Bush and Vince Young in the draft, the selection has held up over time.
Williams has recorded 48 sacks in five seasons, and while he hasn't developed into a megastar, there's time and it's possible the situation could be right under Phillips.
Toward that end, Phillips said, yes, it's possible Williams could move around in the defense. But considering his talent, Phillips said it's not necessarily necessary.
"From what I've seen so far, and from what I knew about him coming out, you want to put him in a situation where you don't want him against their best lineman," Phillips said. "If you can help it, you put him against their worst lineman in some cases. We'll always be trying to do that. But he's so good, you can put him in one spot and let him go.
"Like I said with Bruce Smith, we didn't move him around a whole lot. We just let him play."