Breaking down Mario Williams at LB

Mario Williams has a lot riding on his first season as an outside linebacker in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense.

When the Texans extended three contracts this summer to make salary-cap room for their free-agent additions, Williams was not one of them. Even though he’s heading into the final year of his initial NFL deal. Even though he’s regarded as a pass-rushing terror when healthy.

Than means they wanted to wait and see on Williams

Game 1 brought two sacks and an excellent effort.

Jim Trotter monitored Williams closely Sunday, and said he dropped into coverage just twice in his 44 snaps. (I was there afterward when Williams showed a semi-selective memory and said he hadn’t dropped at all.)

Writes Trotter of Williams:

One of his sacks came with his hand down, the other with his hand off the ground. Overall, he played upright on 24 plays and appeared to drop into a three-point stance only when the Texans went to their nickel or dime sub packages. Phillips also moved him around, aligning 31 times on the left and 13 on the right.

Also of note in the piece: Williams had surgeries on both groins during the offseason. I’m not sure if we knew that.