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View Full Version : Kuharsky sits down with Bruce Smith to discuss Mario in Wade's 3-4 defense


GP
01-27-2011, 08:07 PM
Kuharsky (AFC South blog) asks Bruce Smith to comment (http://espn.go.com/blog/afcsouth/post/_/id/20819/bruce-smith-thoughts-on-texans-4-3)on Phillips as d-coord and how Mario Williams factors into the 3-4 defense.

Didn't see this posted, so if I missed that somebody else has posted this, please merge.

As Wade Phillips takes over as Houstonís defensive coordinator, he inherits one of the leagueís most talented and feared defensive players.

Mario Williams has been slowed by injuries the last two seasons, playing through shoulder and groin issues that ultimately cost him six games. But even banged up, heís a defensive end any coordinator in the league would love to have.

Phillips will take a guy whoís played his first five NFL seasons in a 4-3 defensive front and work to transform him into a 3-4 end.

Itís a different job and it may be a difficult switch.

But Phillips cited Bruce Smith, the Hall of Fame defensive end and NFLís all-time leader in sacks, who played in the coachís 3-4 for five seasons in Buffalo, as an example of what Williams will be able to do in the new defense.

I spoke with Smith this week and asked him about his life as a 3-4 end, Williams, Phillips and the Texansí transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4.

Here is the meat of our conversation:

How much were you a 3-4 guy versus a 4-3 guy?

Bruce Smith: I played my whole career in a 3-4. My whole career with the Bills, 13 years. We did, at some point in time when Wade came in, experiment with a 4-3, but just did not have it, whether it was the personnel or our not being able to get a grasp on it, we didnít stick with it.

Phillips has been using you as a selling point for the transition with Williams. Does that fit from your perspective?

Former Bills defensive end and Hall of Famer Bruce Smith says the Texans' Mario Williams needs to be a "student of the game" to switch to the 3-4 defense.
BS: I have the utmost respect for Wade, his coaching ability and his ability to be able to bring out talent. Mario is a very talented young man and I donít think he has scratched the surface in what he is capable of, just utter dominance on the defensive line. Playing in a 3-4 scheme, you have to be a student of the game.

You have to know where the double team is coming from; where the pressure is coming from if there is a blitz package; if you have help, if you donít have help; when you have to make sure you have contain. You have to know when they are slide protecting, when they are fan protecting, when you have an opportunity to have one-on-ones. If you know when that double team is coming, you have to know if you can beat it quick enough before that second guy gets a hand on you and all of a sudden the two offensive linemen are chasing you. In many cases, thatís what happened for me. In many cases, you have to know where that chip block is coming from, if they are leaving the tight end in.

Being a dominant defensive end in a 3-4 defense, this is a much more difficult position to play. Youíre going to get double teamed far more often than you will in a 4-3. Thatís why his becoming a student of the game is critical.

How much do you know about him and his capacity to do that?

BS: The story is yet to be written. I havenít spent a significant amount of time around him. I donít know his study habits, I donít know his workout habits. Iíve watched games specifically just to study him. He came on my radio show this past year. He is an extremely talented and gifted young man. I think Wade will be able to do a world of good for him.

Are they being a little risky moving him when heís been very good in a 4-3?

BS: Whatís good for the team? Thatís the ultimate goal. Players can adapt. What is good for the ultimate benefit for the team to win games? We canít think about whether one player dictates the defensive scheme or that we have to retrofit the defense for one particular player. Whatís going to be the most beneficial for the defense and team as a whole?

If heís a dominant player in a 4-3, he can be a dominant player in a 3-4. Youíre going to take less abuse in a 4-3 than in a 3-4, thatís just by design. Youíre going to get double teamed a hell of a lot more.

[A Paul Kuharsky aside: That scares me. While Williams has not complained or used his injuries as an excuse, if heís been beat up the last two years in the 4-3, is it smart to put him in line for additional abuse?]

Your thoughts on Phillips at this point?

BS: I canít sing Wadeís praises enough. How he was able to command the respect of his players. I think itís imperative that people get an understanding of this: Wade is the type of coach that thrives when there is accountability, when there are players that believe in his system and with players that are motivated from within.

If he has that type of atmosphere, he can be one of the most dominant defensive coordinators thatís out there. I just hope heís landed in the right situation because I just think the way it went down in Dallas was an injustice.

Had you been a 4-3 end your whole career, how many more sacks might you have had?

BS: Iíve been told by other offensive linemen and coaches that had to scheme against me, ĎBruce, you probably would have ended up with 300 sacks as opposed to 200 because of those double teams you had to face, occasional triple teams and the abuse and wear and tear on your body.í Iíve had nine to 11 surgeries as a result of the chop blocks and things of that nature.

But I can say this: As a result of playing in a 3-4, Iím a complete player. Not only a dominant force to be reckoned with and I think the best thatís played the game rushing the quarterback, but I had balance. I was also a dominant run stopper. Ending a career with roughly 1,100 tackles while being the NFL sack leader, that goes to show you what kind of balance I had.

Marioís going to have an opportunity to make a ton of tackles, heís going to have opportunity to rush the quarterback. When people are keying in on him, Wade will move him around and try to get him away from the double teams, but they will still find you. The quarterback will walk to the line of scrimmage and point you out, the offensive line will say 'Hey, we need to get a couple hats on him.' But that will allow someone else either to have one-on-one blocking, or to come scott free. There are a lot of advantages.

How long will this transition take for Houston?

BS: Itís going to take some time.

GP
01-27-2011, 08:11 PM
Not really feeling all that optimistic about Mario's chances at success now.

Feeling good about Wade's overall chances at success. Not so good about Mario.

It sounds like it's a recipe for Mario to look for a way out after 2011, yet the Texans would probably just franchise him. Or move him by trade deadline in 2011 somehow. I just don't think he's going to be able to thrive, unless he's used VERY creatively.

Carr Bombed
01-27-2011, 09:00 PM
Hall of Famer Bruce Smith says the Texans' Mario Williams needs to be a "student of the game" to switch to the 3-4 defense.

Yeah, that doesn't sound like Mario at all. In 5 years he still hasn't expanded on his pass rushing moves.

dalemurphy
01-27-2011, 09:17 PM
Not really feeling all that optimistic about Mario's chances at success now.

Feeling good about Wade's overall chances at success. Not so good about Mario.

It sounds like it's a recipe for Mario to look for a way out after 2011, yet the Texans would probably just franchise him. Or move him by trade deadline in 2011 somehow. I just don't think he's going to be able to thrive, unless he's used VERY creatively.

Who cares whether Mario thrives in the system? I sure don't. If the defense is good, I could care less if Mario only ends up with 7 sacks. Highlighting Mario as the team's one playmaker on defense hasn't exactly been a successful recipe to date.

TheIronDuke
01-27-2011, 10:39 PM
Mario doesn't have the inner drive to dominate like Bruce Smith did, doubt he's going to dedicate any time to being dominant either. Injuries are a constant with him to make excuses for under-performing.

Lucky
01-27-2011, 10:54 PM
Bruce Smith is an example of how a great player can thrive in any system. Mario Williams is no Bruce Smith. That doesn't mean that Mario can't produce in the 3-4.

The Pencil Neck
01-27-2011, 10:55 PM
I think Mario can be very successful in this defense. Not saying "will" but "can". And although I want him to be successful, his success is less important to me that the success of the team.

The team's success is the only really important thing.

GP
01-27-2011, 11:05 PM
My gawd, TPN and Dale. I freaking KNEW there would be at least one or two people come here and pull the "I don't care what Mario does, I care about the team" chest thumping card.

No sh!t, sherlocks.

I even went to the length of saying "Wade's overall success" which IMPLIES that I meant that Wade can still get the defense to succeed even if Mario is not thriving in the 3-4 from a personal play standpoint.

It's OK to wish someone personal success. And the better Mario does, the better the team does. It's inherent to the success of the defense as a whole.

I could've bet the mortgage on this stuff. Geez...

The thread is about what Bruce Smith said about Mario Williams, and I see red flags all over it. The good news is that Bruce's comments also illuminate what he thinks of Wade as a d-coord. So there's a silver lining even if Mario is taking remedial 3-4 classes when the other kids are outside playing.

GP
01-27-2011, 11:12 PM
NOTE: I don't think you two guys were necessarily needling me about anything.

But I did know, when I posted what I posted, that somebody would just have to satisfy the urge to go the route of saying that stuff about personal success vs. team success.

To me, the two are tied together fairly closely. Great teams have great players who excel at their job(s) and lift others to higher levels. With Mario being in a contract year, it will be interesting to see how the switch to a 3-4 impacts the contract talks with Mario as 2011 progresses.

If things are going well, then good. If he looks bad, we're going to potentially have the opportunity to move him to a 4-3 team at the trade deadline and get something BIG for it. And we could tag his ass for two straight years if he wants to play hardball, too, if I remember the franchise rules (you can only tag a guy two years in a row or some such stuff like that).

I think this is a win-win for us. This is the year Mario has to grow or go, IMO. He's going to have to be teachable and ready to do whatever it takes.

The Pencil Neck
01-27-2011, 11:20 PM
NOTE: I don't think you two guys were necessarily needling me about anything.

Personally, I wasn't saying anything to you. I wasn't needling you or anything.

And I think a lot of times, you take whatever I write and just take it as an attack or some sort of attempt to get a rise out of you when it's not meant that way at all.

NOTE: I mean, I was basically agreeing with you and you decided to get weird about it.

GP
01-27-2011, 11:36 PM
Personally, I wasn't saying anything to you. I wasn't needling you or anything.

And I think a lot of times, you take whatever I write and just take it as an attack or some sort of attempt to get a rise out of you when it's not meant that way at all.

NOTE: I mean, I was basically agreeing with you and you decided to get weird about it.

Well, if we were to bring up the posts from the past (back when I would actually engage in dialogue with you, which I just started up again tonight) you did indeed hammer me. It seemed everywhere I went on here, there you were right behind me with a great deal of misery behind your replies to my posts.

Surely you've noticed that I haven't responded to your posts in practically something like 6 months or a year ago. Not even sure on the actual timeline. I just know I jumped ship on having dialogue with you because it just wasn't worth the grief anymore.

As for Dale, he went bat shit crazy on me one day. Then when I was out of town and couldn't post on the board to reply to the thread where he went nutso on me...he called me out and said "Just like I thought, he's nowhere to be found" or something similar to that. That pissed me off royally, to do that crap when I wasn't even aware of what was going on (due to being away from Internet signal for a few days).

Anyways, the point remains: You two had to satisfy the urge to make sure everyone knew you cared the most about TEAM success, which is pretty much Captain Obvious to everyone here. So that's where I get cranky about the whole deal. It was just awkward, and I knew it wouldn't be long before someone had to put on the Captain Obvious superhero cape and come to the rescue.

Rant over, I think this dead horse has been beaten enough, carry on and all that jazz...

TexCanada
01-27-2011, 11:36 PM
I don't think that this is going to be that big of an issue. Wade seems like he will be creative AND adaptive enough to get the most out of Mario. As long as Mario buys into it then I think all will be good.

Also, hasn't Wade said that we would likely be in a 4-3 on passing downs anyway? Mario will still be able to put up the sack numbers.

Brisco_County
01-27-2011, 11:40 PM
No one's going to be keying in so much on Mario when Connor Barwin is the one reigning holy terror all over the offensive backfield.

GP
01-27-2011, 11:41 PM
I don't think that this is going to be that big of an issue. Wade seems like he will be creative AND adaptive enough to get the most out of Mario. As long as Mario buys into it then I think all will be good.

Also, hasn't Wade said that we would likely be in a 4-3 on passing downs anyway? Mario will still be able to put up the sack numbers.

This is going to be what's most telling, to me. Wade said he wants to use the players to their strengths instead of putting them into places they don't fit into.

Which begs the question: Will he try to make Mario a Bruce Smith version 2.0, or will he adapt and adjust and try to find the best EFFECTIVE fit for Mario? And will that be a fit that means personal success for Mario, or will it be a fit that makes Mario a decent player but not "the main guy" which ends up frustrating Mario during a contract year.

This is his contract year. If he were to go to another team, it will be of utmost importance, to Mario and his agent, that Mario look good on film during 2011.

I can see this being a VERY delicate and important situation. If this isn't handled with extreme caution and with due diligence on Wade's behalf--to get Mario into the best situations possible--then it could become a problem.

GP
01-27-2011, 11:45 PM
No one's going to be keying in so much on Mario when Connor Barwin is the one reigning holy terror all over the offensive backfield.

I hope you're right, but the way that foot was pointed (when he got hurt) I am just trying to wrap my mind around how he comes back and doesn't deal with ankle problems off-and-on all the time.

Holy crap that can't be good for a person to have had that happen. And then to come back and be running full steam ahead on it, making hard plants and cuts on it, pushing off on it, pivoting on it, etc.

I have a confession: Ankle and joint injuries gross me completely out! I mean, I can stand the sight of blood. I can stand a lot of things. But seeing Theisman's leg snap, and seeing Barwin's foot pointed the wrong way, make me gag a little.

Texecutioner
01-27-2011, 11:49 PM
No one's going to be keying in so much on Mario when Connor Barwin is the one reigning holy terror all over the offensive backfield.

That's exactly who I think will benefit the most from the 3-4 change. If Barwin can stay healthy and see the field a lot, Barwin should have a lot of success in that scheme along with Cushing as well. I've always had an itch to see Cushing in the 3-4 scheme.

TexCanada
01-27-2011, 11:49 PM
This is going to be what's most telling, to me. Wade said he wants to use the players to their strengths instead of putting them into places they don't fit into.

Which begs the question: Will he try to make Mario a Bruce Smith version 2.0, or will he adapt and adjust and try to find the best EFFECTIVE fit for Mario? And will that be a fit that means personal success for Mario, or will it be a fit that makes Mario a decent player but not "the main guy" which ends up frustrating Mario during a contract year.

This is his contract year. If he were to go to another team, it will be of utmost importance, to Mario and his agent, that Mario look good on film during 2011.

I can see this being a VERY delicate and important situation. If this isn't handled with extreme caution and with due diligence on Wade's behalf--to get Mario into the best situations possible--then it could become a problem.

I think we also find out a lot more about what drives Mario. Is it going to be team success or personal accolades? If the guy just wants to win and brings the right attitude to the switch, then I think he turns into a really great 3-4 DE. If not, then I'm sure he will be gone in a year or two.


I have a confession: Ankle and joint injuries gross me completely out! I mean, I can stand the sight of blood. I can stand a lot of things. But seeing Theisman's leg snap, and seeing Barwin's foot pointed the wrong way, make me gag a little.

Don't watch the Andrew Bogut elbow injury then!

GP
01-28-2011, 12:00 AM
I think we also find out a lot more about what drives Mario. Is it going to be team success or personal accolades? If the guy just wants to win and brings the right attitude to the switch, then I think he turns into a really great 3-4 DE. If not, then I'm sure he will be gone in a year or two.



Don't watch the Andrew Bogut elbow injury then!

In reply to your first point:

Well, I think Mario has earned (and I see this loosely) a shot at being put in as good of a position as possible. I'm not talking necessarily about him being completely idolized and worshipped. I'm just saying that it could be easy, with the switch to the 3-4, for Mario to get lost in the transition.

He has been a guy who runs the width of the field and tracks down a guy from behind, after you think he was completely out of the play from the beginning. Throughout all the years he's been here, he's seemingly played through injuries and has tried to be the best No. 1 pick he could be. I know he gets the "he's not motivated" tag, but I don't think it fits. Now, I think that tag fits HWMNBN and some others (like Travis Johnson, though he wasn't a no. 1 pick) but not a complete tailor-made tag for Mario.

I think he'll be his best when he's lined up in a funky spot, possibly as a LB off the LOS a few feet (standing up rather than hand in the dirt). I remember Bruce Smith sort of roaming the LOS during the QB's sap count, acting like he was going to shoot one gap and then hopping over to another gap just before the snap.

I am getting pretty excited, in spite of not being totally happy, about how Wade goes about changing the defense and if he can make a good run at it. It's at least something "new" to look at and discuss.

In reply to your second point:

I will NOT be watching the Bogut injury! LOL.

TexanSam
01-28-2011, 12:25 AM
Not really feeling all that optimistic about Mario's chances at success now.

Feeling good about Wade's overall chances at success. Not so good about Mario.

It sounds like it's a recipe for Mario to look for a way out after 2011, yet the Texans would probably just franchise him. Or move him by trade deadline in 2011 somehow. I just don't think he's going to be able to thrive, unless he's used VERY creatively.

Same here. I'm not sure if Mario is a "student of the game" as Bruce Smith mentioned. Hopefully he is and I hope he has success under Wade Phillips but my gut is telling me he won't.

fiasco west
01-28-2011, 05:57 AM
Not really feeling all that optimistic about Mario's chances at success now.

Feeling good about Wade's overall chances at success. Not so good about Mario.

It sounds like it's a recipe for Mario to look for a way out after 2011, yet the Texans would probably just franchise him. Or move him by trade deadline in 2011 somehow. I just don't think he's going to be able to thrive, unless he's used VERY creatively.

I agree that after this interview I don't feel very optimistic about it, but I really could careless if Mario had 2 sacks by week 15 but the team was ranked say...17th in overall defense. Oh well, time to move on from Mario and send him back to a team that plays a 4-3 so he can have success again.

Problem is, if Mario does have a bad year the Texans will franchise him. Pretty sure, but they won't do the next smart move (which would be then trading him for top picks) they will hang onto him because if it's one thing this organization has proven is that they are patient to the point that it hurts the team. Banging their head against something that doesn't works (Carr...Okoye...Kubes...) and by the time they realize that Mario hasn't worked out he will have lost all of his value.

So I hope Mario goes out there and dominates. One because I am a fan of his, he's one of my favorite players on the team. He's not overly cocky and he seems like a chill dude. Off the top of my head he had 9 sacks? With the injury he had for most of the year that is beyond impressive. The best part is what Smith is saying and what many others have been saying...he can still get better and is only 25, for a DE he has at least 4-5 great years ahead of him followed by a couple of more years of solid veteran play. I really hope guys like him, Meco, Andre at least sniff the lombardi one day as Texans.

JB
01-28-2011, 06:44 AM
Problem is, if Mario does have a bad year the Texans will franchise him. Pretty sure, but they won't do the next smart move (which would be then trading him for top picks) they will hang onto him because if it's one thing this organization has proven is that they are patient to the point that it hurts the team. Banging their head against something that doesn't works (Carr...Okoye...Kubes...) and by the time they realize that Mario hasn't worked out he will have lost all of his value.



If Mario has a bad year, why would any other team want to give up 2 #1 picks for him?

BigBull17
01-28-2011, 07:06 AM
Who cares whether Mario thrives in the system? I sure don't. If the defense is good, I could care less if Mario only ends up with 7 sacks. Highlighting Mario as the team's one playmaker on defense hasn't exactly been a successful recipe to date.

We get it, you hate him.

NOTE: I don't think you two guys were necessarily needling me about anything.

But I did know, when I posted what I posted, that somebody would just have to satisfy the urge to go the route of saying that stuff about personal success vs. team success.

To me, the two are tied together fairly closely. Great teams have great players who excel at their job(s) and lift others to higher levels. With Mario being in a contract year, it will be interesting to see how the switch to a 3-4 impacts the contract talks with Mario as 2011 progresses.

If things are going well, then good. If he looks bad, we're going to potentially have the opportunity to move him to a 4-3 team at the trade deadline and get something BIG for it. And we could tag his ass for two straight years if he wants to play hardball, too, if I remember the franchise rules (you can only tag a guy two years in a row or some such stuff like that).

I think this is a win-win for us. This is the year Mario has to grow or go, IMO. He's going to have to be teachable and ready to do whatever it takes.

Good post. Mario's intellectual approach to the game isn't the problem. He's had injuries. When he hasn't been hurt he has been dominant. I think he is a pretty natural fit in a 3-4, and think he is flexible enough to be a big asset.

El Tejano
01-28-2011, 07:19 AM
I'm going to let Mario heal before I start saying he may not do well. And what I mean by heal is , yes get over the injuries but, take Bruce Smith's advice and start becoming a student of the game by watching film or studying the play book. How awesome would it be if we heard that Mario called up Bruce Smith and even Antonio Smith to spend the off season working on the new defense?

GP
01-28-2011, 08:23 AM
I'm going to let Mario heal before I start saying he may not do well. And what I mean by heal is , yes get over the injuries but, take Bruce Smith's advice and start becoming a student of the game by watching film or studying the play book. How awesome would it be if we heard that Mario called up Bruce Smith and even Antonio Smith to spend the off season working on the new defense?

That'd be a smart move.

Mario needs someone who's been there and done that. A guy like Bruce Smith should maybe come on as a contracted consultant until preseason hits, spending time with him and the others...seeing the problems and helping to correct them.

McNair hired Dan Reeves as a consultant once, this would make sense.

HOU-TEX
01-28-2011, 08:41 AM
There are only 2 things that bother me about Mario and this move to a 3-4 end.

1. Mario moving further inside, even if it's only a couple 2-3 feet, will increase his chances for more injury. Can he hold up to the abuse a 3-4 DE receives on every play?

2. Mario's willingness to get better. IMO, Mario seems to rely on his God-given talents rather than becoming a "student of the game". Does he truly sit down and study and learn more about the game he's playing? It sure doesn't look like it from where the I sit.

Do I think he can be successful in this system? Damn right I do! However, it's up to Mario to take his game to the next level, beyond what he's shown thus far.

nero THE zero
01-28-2011, 09:48 AM
While everyone is focusing on the Mario comments, I can't get passed Smith's caveat that Phillips will be a great DC if the organization has a great amount of accountability.

I don't know how much Smith knows about our organization, but I can't help but think his comments and caveats were either a great coincidence or a suggestion that Phillips will ultimately fail here.

For example:

Mario can be a great player as long as he becomes a student of the game.

Wade Phillips will be a fantastic coordinator as long as the organization holds its people accountable.

It's like he's implicitly saying our team is destined to fail; that these things could be successful, so long as they were done by another team, an organization not so wayward and misguided.

GP
01-28-2011, 10:36 AM
While everyone is focusing on the Mario comments, I can't get passed Smith's caveat that Phillips will be a great DC if the organization has a great amount of accountability.

I don't know how much Smith knows about our organization, but I can't help but think his comments and caveats were either a great coincidence or a suggestion that Phillips will ultimately fail here.

For example:

Mario can be a great player as long as he becomes a student of the game.

Wade Phillips will be a fantastic coordinator as long as the organization holds its people accountable.

It's like he's implicitly saying our team is destined to fail; that these things could be successful, so long as they were done by another team, an organization not so wayward and misguided.

Yeah, I saw the "accounatbility" quote too. And thought the same thing.

But I can't state that, on here, because collective panties would get bunched up in synchronized fashion. I'm glad you flipped the light switch onto the issue.

Bruce sounded like a guy who thinks that "theoritcally" it could work out for all involved here...but the conditions have to be good. I question whether the players we have, specifically in the secondary, are mentally and psychologically/emotionally capable of raising their game and leaving the past behind them. Outside of the first Titans game, they all looked completely lost and totally inept. The LBs were not far behind them, either, in that category.

I just sense that we've got the wrong secondary guys here. Maybe there is a connection between David Gibbs leaving the Chiefs, and Pollard being unceremoniously cut/dropped from the Chiefs? At the time, we thought the Chiefs made a huge mistake by letting Pollard go. He came in, started smashing people, and I thought we had our strong safety for sure. But was it Gibbs (with a heavy dash of Frank Bush) that ultimately led Kubiak/Smith to acquire players for those two coaches that are not going to be the type of secondary players Wade Phillips wants? Could it be that David Gibbs and some loyalty-to-a-fault behavior by Kubiak was the demise and possibly future obstacles for this defense?

Lots to be seen, for sure.

The more time that passes, the more I think McNair made a unilateral, executive decision to hire Wade Phillips and tell Kubiak (and possibly Smith) to handle everything BUT the defense from now on. In essence, I think Wade Phillips might actually be calling shots on draft day in regards to what defensive players we take. What we had in 2010, especially secondary players, is borderline FUBAR. We're needing to phase in some new guys via Wade's drafting and some free agency (though I doubt THAT one).

disaacks3
01-28-2011, 10:38 AM
Yeah, that doesn't sound like Mario at all. In 5 years he still hasn't expanded on his pass rushing moves. I hope Mario will put in the necessary work, but I'm not as hopeful as I could be. OTOH, maybe Mario will start maintaining his lane better and become a run stopper as well as a pass rusher.

Who cares whether Mario thrives in the system? I sure don't. If the defense is good, I could care less if Mario only ends up with 7 sacks. Highlighting Mario as the team's one playmaker on defense hasn't exactly been a successful recipe to date. You know who cares? Mario. If you plan on keeping him around (and NOT having to franchise him), then you need to have HIS buy-in. Bruce Smith telling him that he'll be limiting his sack stats is NOT going to be encouraging news to him. If he's not into team success at least as fully as his own, there will be issues...count on it.

GP
01-28-2011, 10:48 AM
I hope Mario will put in the necessary work, but I'm not as hopeful as I could be. OTOH, maybe MArio will start maintaining his lane better and become a run stopper as well as a pass rusher.

You know who cares? Mario. If you plan on keeping him around (and NOT having to franchise him), then you need to have HIS buy-in. Bruce smith telling him that he'll be limiting his sack stats is NOT going to be encouraging news to him. If he's not into team success at least as fully as his own, there will be issues...count on it.

In addition, a player having great personal success is a GOOD thing. You never know who it is, on the team, who will play at an insanely high level one season and be the catalyst for shutting other teams down.

Mario is, IMO, probably the one guy who is freakishly talented (and big) enough to be that guy. But he has to have the "want to." With injuries, and with being in a contract year, he's going to face some naturally-existing hurdles that just got taller with the introduction of the 3-4.

By the way, since we're talking about guys having to face double-teams in a 3-4, I seem to remember that teams were consistently double-teaming Amobi. I can see Wade plugging Amobi into the NT position. He's already been facing the double-teams, so it won't be a shock to his system. Plus, he'll get shots to twist around on some stunt plays and get some separation and the potential to go make a play somewhere in the backfiel or around the edges. I think you gotta' make the young kid (he's like 18 now, right?) take the bulk of that abuse. Just my opinion.

eriadoc
01-28-2011, 11:18 AM
Injuries are a constant with him to make excuses for under-performing.

I invite you to share one single quote from Mario where he's used his injuries as an excuse. Until you come up with one, I'm calling BS on you. The man has played injured rather than sit it out. Maybe it would be better if he had shut it down. Maybe he could put a bit more effort in from time to time. But you're full of it if you think he's used the injuries as an excuse. He's played through it better than most.

thunderkyss
01-28-2011, 11:38 AM
I've been watching some of Dallas' games from 2010. Wish I had some of those old Bills games to watch.

But I don't know that Mario will be asked to do the same things Bruce Smith was. From what I've seen, there's very little difference between the way Phillips used Spears & a 4-3 D-lineman. Hearing the way Wade has talked, letting Mario play the 5 tech..... I don't know that there will be much difference.

thunderkyss
01-28-2011, 11:43 AM
I'm going to let Mario heal before I start saying he may not do well. And what I mean by heal is , yes get over the injuries but, take Bruce Smith's advice and start becoming a student of the game by watching film or studying the play book. How awesome would it be if we heard that Mario called up Bruce Smith and even Antonio Smith to spend the off season working on the new defense?

I question whether Mario has ever had a coach in the NFL that actually taught him the game. I rarely see our defense do anything to make it appear they "knew" the other teams tendencies..... or that they ever had a play sniffed out.

I've seen Cushing & Demeco jump on something, but never seen the "right defense" for an offensive play.

Maybe never is too strong a word, but that's what it feels like.

Hopefully Wade will bring in some real "film study" some real "game planning"

Thorn
01-28-2011, 11:47 AM
Hopefully we have a 2011 season to get an answer to some of these questions!!

dc_txtech
01-28-2011, 01:14 PM
Mario Williams has been slowed by injuries the last two seasons, playing through shoulder and groin issues that ultimately cost him six games. But even banged up, heís a defensive end any coordinator in the league would love to have.

Quoted from the OP, Mario has only missed 3 games in his career. I actually recall the announcer in one of the games (week 10 or 11) say that Mario was the only player from the 2006 draft class to start every game up until that point. Not sure if that is in fact true but I know it was said during a game this season.

Texas T
01-28-2011, 01:19 PM
While everyone is focusing on the Mario comments, I can't get passed Smith's caveat that Phillips will be a great DC if the organization has a great amount of accountability.

I don't know how much Smith knows about our organization, but I can't help but think his comments and caveats were either a great coincidence or a suggestion that Phillips will ultimately fail here.

For example:

Mario can be a great player as long as he becomes a student of the game.

Wade Phillips will be a fantastic coordinator as long as the organization holds its people accountable.

It's like he's implicitly saying our team is destined to fail; that these things could be successful, so long as they were done by another team, an organization not so wayward and misguided.

The word "accountability" was the one thing I remember from the original article. That is a big word not used in the Texans organization.
The only time I really remember them making someone be accountable was Foster this year (the Oakland game).
If that is a big part of the Defensive game plan we're screwed...

wagonhed
01-28-2011, 02:48 PM
To echo some previous posts, this has not made me feel more optimistic about Mario's transition.

steelbtexan
01-28-2011, 03:26 PM
There are only 2 things that bother me about Mario and this move to a 3-4 end.

1. Mario moving further inside, even if it's only a couple 2-3 feet, will increase his chances for more injury. Can he hold up to the abuse a 3-4 DE receives on every play?

2. Mario's willingness to get better. IMO, Mario seems to rely on his God-given talents rather than becoming a "student of the game". Does he truly sit down and study and learn more about the game he's playing? It sure doesn't look like it from where the I sit.

Do I think he can be successful in this system? Damn right I do! However, it's up to Mario to take his game to the next level, beyond what he's shown thus far.

^^^^

This

Does th guy that B.Smith was describing in that interview remind you of MW at this point in his career? No I dont think it does.

Hopefully MW can stay injury free and just as importantly become a student of the game. The ball's in MW's court on this subject.

maddogmrb
01-28-2011, 03:45 PM
All this is not a big deal anyway. If Mario has probs adapting to the 3-4 they will just make a TE out of him because we only have 5 of them on the roster now.

CloakNNNdagger
01-28-2011, 03:58 PM
I don't know that I buy Mario being a "student of the game." That would mean that after studying all of the offenses, the only real option Mario could come up with in the 4-3 was an around the end rush........sort of like Henry Ford's statement to the people, "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black." A one trick pony, makes good sense for a car company's bottom line, but not for a 3-4 DE.

dalemurphy
01-28-2011, 04:14 PM
I hope Mario will put in the necessary work, but I'm not as hopeful as I could be. OTOH, maybe Mario will start maintaining his lane better and become a run stopper as well as a pass rusher.

You know who cares? Mario. If you plan on keeping him around (and NOT having to franchise him), then you need to have HIS buy-in. Bruce Smith telling him that he'll be limiting his sack stats is NOT going to be encouraging news to him. If he's not into team success at least as fully as his own, there will be issues...count on it.

You know what the successful organizations do with players with that kind of attitude? They let them walk or trade them. I'm not suggesting Mario is a selfish player. You are... If he is, though, then good riddens. I think coaches need to implement schemes that make use of a player's abilities and put them in a position to win. I don't, however, think it is the coaches job to alter the scheme to fit the whims of a player. That sounds like a recipe for losing.

nero THE zero
01-28-2011, 04:29 PM
The word "accountability" was the one thing I remember from the original article. That is a big word not used in the Texans organization.
The only time I really remember them making someone be accountable was Foster this year (the Oakland game).
If that is a big part of the Defensive game plan we're screwed...

There was significant accountability on the offensive side of the ball. In addition to the Foster incident, Jacoby was suspended a game for missing a flight (IIRC), RB's were benched for fumbling in the '09 season, etc.

For whatever reason, and I'll avoid speculation here (though I do have my own opinion), that accountability does not translate to the defensive side of the ball. I think what Bruce Smith is suggesting is that Wade is the "good cop" and that he needs a "bad cop" to be successful. We lack the "bad cop" as evidenced by the lack of accountability on the defensive side of the ball.

Double Barrel
01-28-2011, 04:39 PM
How long will this transition take for Houston?

BS: It’s going to take some time.

ahhhh, I love the smell of built-in excuses in the afternoon. ;)

What is Bruce Smith up to these days? If he's coaching, bring him in to mentor Mario. We need all the help that we can get with this scheme switch, and that includes properly educating one of our best defensive players.

disaacks3
01-28-2011, 05:59 PM
You know what the successful organizations do with players with that kind of attitude? They let them walk or trade them. I'm not suggesting Mario is a selfish player. You are... If he is, though, then good riddens. I think coaches need to implement schemes that make use of a player's abilities and put them in a position to win. I don't, however, think it is the coaches job to alter the scheme to fit the whims of a player. That sounds like a recipe for losing.

I'm not suggesting he's selfish, just that he has a career to think about. If YOUR contract gave bonuses for sacks and getting to the Pro Bowl, wouldn't it be wise to put yourself in the situation that had the highest probability of achieving those goals? Re-read what Smith said....many coaches projected he would have had 100 more sacks in a 4-3. Shouldn't Mario expect his production (and subsequently his bankroll) to go down? After all, I'm in no danger of confusing Mario with a hall-of-famer yet.

I think coaches need to implement schemes that make the best use of the existing personnel, OR that they need to find the right players for THEIR system. It's not always fair to ask a player to do something he's not suited for. Maybe lining Mario up an NT or CB sounds like something he should just "shut up and do" to you, but it's a misuse of resources to just about anybody else.

I'm hoping that he can be a productive 3-4 DE, but the description Bruce Smith gave for the job doesn't sound like the Mario Williams that this team drafted. That's not selfish, that's just trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

thunderkyss
01-28-2011, 08:06 PM
I hope Mario will put in the necessary work, but I'm not as hopeful as I could be. OTOH, maybe Mario will start maintaining his lane better and become a run stopper as well as a pass rusher.

You know who cares? Mario. If you plan on keeping him around (and NOT having to franchise him), then you need to have HIS buy-in. Bruce Smith telling him that he'll be limiting his sack stats is NOT going to be encouraging news to him. If he's not into team success at least as fully as his own, there will be issues...count on it.

I don't think Mario cares about numbers as much as we do. I never got that sense anyway. I think he takes more pride in being a complete player than a sack master. I would also bet he is among the best run stopping DEs in the game today.

CloakNNNdagger
01-29-2011, 08:07 AM
I keep on hearing all these analogies between Bruce Smith and what Mario could be in the 3-4. I watched Smith throughout his career. His speed was epic. But it was his STRENGTH that set him apart from all other DE's. There is a reason that Warren Moon used to refer to him as a player that could bulldoze a concrete wall. He not only routinely handled double and triple teams...............he would run right through them. I won't delude myself into expecting Mario to miraculously turning into a second coming of Bruce Smith...........not even close.

gafftop
01-29-2011, 08:59 AM
Mario is Mario going back to college. Great looking engine but it doesn't run all the time. I see a repeat of Kubiak/Carr when after the first year Wade realizes Mario ain't it either because of desire, injury, football athleticism or whatever. I view Mario as Yao of the Rockets in respect to injuries. I though they should have traded Yao a long time ago and I think they should trade Mario NOW and get something before next year plays out with Wade in charge of defense. Do you realize Mario makes up about 15% of the total real payroll of the Texans? I am not talking about DEAD money on the payroll. I understand the amount he is paid is not his fault, it is the curse of the Texan's drafting first, but still. If the Texans have a chance to get out from under this albatross they should. Texans don't be bullheaded and stupid because you don't want to look as if you made a mistake. Repeat after me, It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault.
It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault.
You had to choose someone and of the three you might have chosen the best, but now you have a chance to improve the team if the right trade is available. Albatross, albatross, albatross. Just my opinion.

leebigeztx
01-29-2011, 10:21 AM
I think the 3-4 will be ok for mario especially the way wade plays it. He plays more slant the front 1 gap which allows penetration with the front 3. Seymor and warren both had 8 sacks in the 2 gap scheme of the patriots. Mario will be fine as will Smith. I actually think Okoye will be fine as a de in the 3-4 also 1 gaping. I'm guessing cushing will be the wilb and ryans the silb. Anderson could play wolb in the same capacity as Hali and dumerville which would also work. Hopefully barwin comes back and he plays solb on the te side. They still need to get the back end right and also getting a guy like Alan Branch for NT would help if they couldnt get a guy like Franklin.

Texecutioner
01-29-2011, 11:00 PM
Mario is Mario going back to college. Great looking engine but it doesn't run all the time. I see a repeat of Kubiak/Carr when after the first year Wade realizes Mario ain't it either because of desire, injury, football athleticism or whatever. I view Mario as Yao of the Rockets in respect to injuries. I though they should have traded Yao a long time ago and I think they should trade Mario NOW and get something before next year plays out with Wade in charge of defense. Do you realize Mario makes up about 15% of the total real payroll of the Texans? I am not talking about DEAD money on the payroll. I understand the amount he is paid is not his fault, it is the curse of the Texan's drafting first, but still. If the Texans have a chance to get out from under this albatross they should. Texans don't be bullheaded and stupid because you don't want to look as if you made a mistake. Repeat after me, It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault.
It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault.
You had to choose someone and of the three you might have chosen the best, but now you have a chance to improve the team if the right trade is available. Albatross, albatross, albatross. Just my opinion.

Man, this post is spot on. Very good points. Mario is pretty good, but he's not great and he's everything that he was advertised as by scouts when he was drafted. A total freak that goes when he wants to go. Sort of like Randy Moss almost, but with far less results when he's at his best and without the weird attitude and ugly looks. Scouts pre warned the league about his come and go efforts and his stat lines from his last season in college effected that big time when you saw his numbers from game to game. He's a carbon copy of what he was advertised as. At this point I think it's a lot more of faith and optimism with Mario Williams than it is pure results and dividends on the field from what's expected and predicted regarding Mario. It doesn't help that he's a typical #1 draft pick that got so much "guaranteed" money from the jump either. Mario practically had his financial life set before he ever even played a down. That's never a good recipe for someone who isn't highly self motivated which I don't think Mario ever has been.

Personally I think people are kidding themselves by thinking some switch to the 3-4 is going to make Mario better. His skill set doesn't fit the 3-4. He's always that guy that's like a step or two to slow at the QB in the 4-3. The 3-4 he'll have to be even faster. I think the optimism in Mario's improvement is just faith at this point personally. I've got more optimism and faith in Conner Barwin and even Cushing at being a stud in the 3-4 than I do Mario.

The Pencil Neck
01-30-2011, 03:19 PM
Personally I think people are kidding themselves by thinking some switch to the 3-4 is going to make Mario better. His skill set doesn't fit the 3-4. He's always that guy that's like a step or two to slow at the QB in the 4-3. The 3-4 he'll have to be even faster. I think the optimism in Mario's improvement is just faith at this point personally. I've got more optimism and faith in Conner Barwin and even Cushing at being a stud in the 3-4 than I do Mario.

I don't expect Mario to be anything more than we've gotten so far and very possibly, he could totally disappear in this defense regardless of all the invocations of Bruce Smith's name since Wade was made DC.

But I don't think we have to have Mario suddenly turn into a consistent monster for the defense to be successful.

At this point, I really wouldn't be against us making a huge trade with Mario to get more pieces for this defense. There are a lot of defenses where Mario could be much more successful than he is here and we could use his trade value to get guys that would be a better fit for Wade's D.

I doubt we'll make that trade but I wouldn't be against it.

thunderkyss
01-30-2011, 03:34 PM
I don't expect Mario to be anything more than we've gotten so far and very possibly, he could totally disappear in this defense regardless of all the invocations of Bruce Smith's name since Wade was made DC.


I agree. I think Mario is an above average complete DE, actually I think of Mario more as a football player than just a DE. But he hasn't met our (my) expectations of being a game changing monster. Though he does play through injury (& IMO looks like he could be that monster when healthy) he may end up disappearing because of those nagging injuries.

I don't know that anyone "expects" Mario to be anything more than what we "expect" him to be already. Wade Smith is our new DC so of course it makes sense that we'll have this discussion.

People are worried that the switch to a 3-4 would put a cap on his ceiling. Many people have said it would have been a waste of a draft pick to take Mario Williams with the #1 overall, if we played a 3-4. I was one of those guys.

We'll see.

Rey
01-30-2011, 07:40 PM
At this point, I really wouldn't be against us making a huge trade with Mario to get more pieces for this defense. There are a lot of defenses where Mario could be much more successful than he is here and we could use his trade value to get guys that would be a better fit for Wade's D.

I doubt we'll make that trade but I wouldn't be against it.

I'm not saying that the options aren't out there, but could you name something specific?

Reading your post I can't really think of any trades like the one you speak of. If we are trading Mario for guys that fit the 3-4 are we trading for guys that are currently playing in a 4-3 that we think fit this scheme? Or are we trading for DB's

If he doesn't fit Wade's 3-4 then I don't think we'd trade him to another 3-4....


I really don't see how trade options are all that feasible at this point. Maybe I'm missing something.

Mario is our best d-lineman...IMO....

He is very strong at the point of attack and that is what you look for in 3-4 linemen. If we trade Mario, that is just another hole we would have to fill...and we'd probably fill it with a less talented player...

I think Mario will do a great job in this defense.

steelbtexan
01-30-2011, 08:17 PM
I'm not saying that the options aren't out there, but could you name something specific?

Reading your post I can't really think of any trades like the one you speak of. If we are trading Mario for guys that fit the 3-4 are we trading for guys that are currently playing in a 4-3 that we think fit this scheme? Or are we trading for DB's

If he doesn't fit Wade's 3-4 then I don't think we'd trade him to another 3-4....


I really don't see how trade options are all that feasible at this point. Maybe I'm missing something.

Mario is our best d-lineman...IMO....

He is very strong at the point of attack and that is what you look for in 3-4 linemen. If we trade Mario, that is just another hole we would have to fill...and we'd probably fill it with a less talented player...

I think Mario will do a great job in this defense.

A fair trade would be something like what the Texans did when they aquired Schaub from Atl.

Houston trades MW to Buffalo for instance. Cost would be Houston would move up to #3 and take Peterson. Buffalo would get #11. Houston would also get Buffalo's 2nd rd pick #35 and Buffalo's 2012 2nd rd pick.

This is just an example of how a deal could be done. With MW's contract coming up after the 2011 season and MW's injury history. BoB could save some $$$$.

Just curious,what makes you think MW will be a healthy/happy/productive player? His history says he wont be. I guess it never hurts to be optimistic.

The Pencil Neck
01-31-2011, 01:37 PM
I'm not saying that the options aren't out there, but could you name something specific?

Reading your post I can't really think of any trades like the one you speak of. If we are trading Mario for guys that fit the 3-4 are we trading for guys that are currently playing in a 4-3 that we think fit this scheme? Or are we trading for DB's

If he doesn't fit Wade's 3-4 then I don't think we'd trade him to another 3-4....


I really don't see how trade options are all that feasible at this point. Maybe I'm missing something.

Mario is our best d-lineman...IMO....

He is very strong at the point of attack and that is what you look for in 3-4 linemen. If we trade Mario, that is just another hole we would have to fill...and we'd probably fill it with a less talented player...

I think Mario will do a great job in this defense.

I'm not the Crazy Trade Idea guy. I'm not looking at specific defenses and coveting specific players. But Mario is a guy who could be traded for several players similar to the Jared Allen trade a few years back.

There are a couple of teams switching from 3-4 to 4-3 and we're switching to a 3-4. So there may be possibilities there. We could also trade him for DBs. But there are probably some players out there that were drafted for a 4-3 but are better suited for a 3-4. I don't know who they are but I'm sure there are some guys out there like that.

When you add in the possibility of draft choices and offensive players, I'm sure something could be put together.

But as I said, I don't think it will happen. I think they're definitely going to try to get Mario on board with this and try to put him in a position to be successful in this defense. And Mario definitely has the talent to be successful in it. I just don't know if he's going to be able to be healthy enough or have a high enough motor to be successful.

barrett
01-31-2011, 01:47 PM
It's not completely crazy to think that with a new system in place, Mario might have an awakening. I remember in week 1 when we were pummeling the Colts, the TV broadcast cut away to Mario. It was right after we gave up a BS TD to cut the lead to 14. Williams could be seen on the sideline yelling furiously. He was clearly upset. I think it's fair to think that at the end of the day, he wants to win. In the past I think you could agree that it might have been hard for the players on the defensive side of the ball to "buy in". Having an actual proven scheme in place may make a huge difference for him. He may be more driven than he has been in the past. He may be playing without a sports hernia for the first time in a few years as well.

I can't wait for September when training camp week starts so we can find out!

gafftop
01-31-2011, 04:45 PM
A fair trade would be something like what the Texans did when they aquired Schaub from Atl.

Houston trades MW to Buffalo for instance. Cost would be Houston would move up to #3 and take Peterson. Buffalo would get #11. Houston would also get Buffalo's 2nd rd pick #35 and Buffalo's 2012 2nd rd pick.

This is just an example of how a deal could be done. With MW's contract coming up after the 2011 season and MW's injury history. BoB could save some $$$$.

Just curious,what makes you think MW will be a healthy/happy/productive player? His history says he wont be. I guess it never hurts to be optimistic.

I would make that trade in a heartbeat, but I don't really think there is any chance. Texans get smart and get something for him NOW. The fans are finally starting to come around. When I used to call Mario Mario I got crucified. I am afraid the Texans are expecting something out of Barwin. Barwin has NEVER done ANYTHING. Especially coming off an injury don't even count him when trying to decide what you need. Texans quit building this team based on another year automatically making a player better/smarter. It doesn't work that way. Texans that is why you NEVER GET BETTER, YOU HAVEN'T FIGURED THAT OUT. Age and experience don't automatically make a player or coach or GM better. You are what you are. You missed the playoffs the year before and then did ABSOLUTLY NOTHING MORE THAN DRAFT PLAYERS and you expected magically to get better. For your information all the teams DRAFT. Oh let me take that back actually you let starters go so you GOT WORSE. Other playoff teams made acquisitions that made them better. We let players go. There is no surprise at what happened this year. C'mon McNair open your EYES and use common sense. I am not sure the GM or HC get any smarter as they get older. I'm out I am starting to ramble.

gafftop
01-31-2011, 04:56 PM
It's not completely crazy to think that with a new system in place, Mario might have an awakening. I remember in week 1 when we were pummeling the Colts, the TV broadcast cut away to Mario. It was right after we gave up a BS TD to cut the lead to 14. Williams could be seen on the sideline yelling furiously. He was clearly upset. I think it's fair to think that at the end of the day, he wants to win. In the past I think you could agree that it might have been hard for the players on the defensive side of the ball to "buy in". Having an actual proven scheme in place may make a huge difference for him. He may be more driven than he has been in the past. He may be playing without a sports hernia for the first time in a few years as well.

I can't wait for September when training camp week starts so we can find out!

It is within the realm of possibilty that what you say MAY happen. All I am saying is don't plan your whole defense around what you HOPE Mario or any player may be next year. Plan it on what he/they have actually done and plan that Mario will be hurt. What you hope is a team out there makes a trade based on what Mario could be if he is motivated, healthy, and learns some moves on defense. That is the only way you get anything for him in a trade. I am not sure there are any other GMs or HCs that are likely to imagine Mario as Super Mario, we can only HOPE. Some where over the rainbow skis are blue......

Rey
01-31-2011, 05:00 PM
A fair trade would be something like what the Texans did when they aquired Schaub from Atl.

Houston trades MW to Buffalo for instance. Cost would be Houston would move up to #3 and take Peterson. Buffalo would get #11. Houston would also get Buffalo's 2nd rd pick #35 and Buffalo's 2012 2nd rd pick.

This is just an example of how a deal could be done. With MW's contract coming up after the 2011 season and MW's injury history. BoB could save some $$$$.

Doesn't Buffalo run a 3-4???

That wasmy point in trading Mario. If we are worried he won't fit our 3-4 then why would another team take him for their 3-4?

And honestly, I'm more inclined to keep Mario vs. drafting a rookie corner and getting even younger in the secondary.

And I'm not saying that there aren't any feasible trades out there, but I think when you are talking about trading Mario is brings up a lot of issues.

Just curious,what makes you think MW will be a healthy/happy/productive player? His history says he wont be. I guess it never hurts to be optimistic.

I can't think of any player on our team that can put a check mark in all of those categories you listed.

Playing through injuries is just part of the job. I'm not worried about his health because he has always played.

As far as production, I dunno.....Overall he's been very productive, but he does disapear from game to game. Again, that can be said about a few players on our roster.

But again, I'm not worried about that as much in this defense. He will not be asked to do the same things that he has done in the past. He may be over paid for his new role, but that is another issue.

Thorn
02-01-2011, 08:01 AM
here we go picking on Mario again. Give it a rest. Not only does he get a fair amount of sacks, he's very good at stopping the run. Not a lot of DE's can do both like Mario can. While he isn't a super star like some want, he's a damn good DE.