Herring: 'Anxiety for no reason' over Williams' move to OLB

Houston Texans linebackers coach Reggie Herring calls the swell of speculation around Mario Williams' switch to outside linebacker in new coordinator Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme an "overreaction."

"There's a lot of anxiety built up for no reason," Herring told the team's official site last week. "At the end of the day, over half the game, our outside 'backers are down in our sub package rushing outside, which is what he did anyway and has done in college."

In game situations, it's likely that Williams will play in a three-point stance in nickel situations and come roaring off the edge in four-man fronts, similar to the role he has played at defensive end since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2006.

"And the other half of the (time), he will just be in a two-point (stance) -- outside rushing from an outside position, and very, very seldomly dropping," Herring said.

"We're different in structure from most 3-4 teams, and I think everybody breaks out the 3-4 manual and kind of broad brushes just what we're doing with him, and they don't really understand our 3-4 defense," the coach added.

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"Our 3-4 defense is -- we determine who rushes on every snap, not the formation. Nobody can dictate by formation who rushes or drops by motioning the tight end over and creating a strong set to the weakside. We say who's going to rush, and they rush. And at the end of the day, regardless of what formation it is, we'll dictate how many times Mario rushes and drops. So people can forget about that."

Herring told the site that he expects Williams, along with outside linebackers Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed, to battle for the NFL lead in sacks next season.

Williams' career in Houston began with controversy in 2006, when the Texans drafted him first overall when popular thinking had running back Reggie Bush going there.

However, Williams vindicated the Texans with a strong career that has included 48 sacks in five seasons. He finished last season with 8.5 sacks, his lowest output since his rookie year.

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