2012 NFL Free Agents: Breaking Down the Impact of Mario Williams
It was only a few days ago when the Buffalo Bills shocked the NFL by aggressively pursuing and ultimately breaking the bank to sign former Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams, a towering pass-rusher with great explosiveness, overwhelming power and what seems to be endless versatility.
The former Texans pass-rusher is well worth the money he was given, which is said to be roughly $100 million, because of the impact he'll have on the defensive game plan that Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannestedt puts together every day leading up to Sunday.
How's this done, you ask?
Well, it all starts up front, where Mario Williams will likely be playing right defensive end in the Bills' base 40 front. He'll be joining defensive tackle Marcel Dareus, nose tackle Kyle Williams and defensive end Chris Kelsay to round out the defensive front.
Typically, a potentially dominant force like Williams would have the offensive line slide to its left—whether it be a half or full slide—to contain him, but this will be a difficult task for blockers to do because of the two interior defensive linemen, Dareus and Williams.
Last season, Dareus and Williams showed flashes of a dominant partnership before Williams went down with an injury. However, when they were playing together, they were able to force the opposition to use extra blockers to contain them—specifically the three interior offensive linemen.
When this occurred, the Bills tackles were able to create one-on-one matchups on the outside for the defensive ends, who did not always take advantage of it.
Kelsay did well as a strong-side end, but he was not always consistent either, as can be seen in the image above which shows Oakland Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell sitting in a well-developed pocket.
The weak side had many issues as the rushers were not able to consistently win their matchups. What this forces the Bills' defensive coaches to do is implement more pressure packages involving blitzing defenders to apply pressure.
However, that's expected to change this season because it is where the talents of Mario Williams come into play.
"There's no pressure." — Mario Williams
Oh there's pressure, Mario. There's pressure because Williams is able to win one-on-one matchups on the outside.
Was Mario Williams worth the money?
He's able to take advantage of the opportunities created by the two potentially dominant interior defensive linemen. He has a dominant bulrush that can overpower offensive tackles and the first step to beat them off the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball.
Moreover, with the addition of Williams to the front four, it creates a potentially dominant four-man line with two quality pass-rushers at the ends of it and two complete talents along the interior.
Because of the pass-rush potential of the four, it gives the Bills defense more flexibility in coverage as they are able to drop seven and offer more bracket (double) coverages on the top pass-catchers in the league.
This signing truly makes the entire defense better on every down and it is why the Bills organization broke the bank in signing Mario Williams from the Houston Texans.
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