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The Super Mario Experiment Revisited

As the 2007 season progressed, we saw Mario Williams begin to transform into one of those guys who give opposing coaches night terrors. Sure, his physical gifts always demanded he be accounted for on every play, but last season saw Super Mario emerge as one of the top rushing ends in the NFL. Consequently, we also began to see teams attempt to come up with creative ways to contain him. And as your Houston Texans begin to prepare for the 2008 season on the practice field, it's clear that they're going to adjust their schemes to ensure that opposing offensive coordinators have one more thing to think about:

Next season, the team plans to use Williams in more sophisticated pass rush scenarios to help keep him from being double teamed. The defensive end will play on both sides of the line and could move inside in certain situations.

As diehard fans will recall, the coaching staff moved Super Mario around the line quite a bit throughout the first half of the 2006 season, attempting to find the highest and best use for their newest toy, before finally letting him settle in at RDE. Back then, the constant shuffling seemed to unnerve and confuse the rookie; it might have been too much for him to process in conjunction with having to adjust to the speed of the professional game. Accordingly, that plan was scrapped, and Mario was told to do what he does best: Beat the offense off the edge. Now, coming off a season that saw him arrive as the player that the team hoped he would be when he was brought to town in April of 2006, it appears that Smithiak is going to give it another go.

While the first reaction to this news might be to question why the team should fix something that ain't broken, imagine what a smarter, more confident Mario Williams could to on the inside or, more importantly, at LDE in certain situations. Teams would have to key on Mario even more than they already do. Entire game plans and drives could be affected by the uneasy understanding that the team's most dominating pass rusher could line up anywhere on a given play. Despite Mario's earlier frustrations with moving around, isn't it worth taking another shot at it now?