The key to the scheme’s success? Williams’ versatility.
Pettine purposely hasn’t labeled Williams as either a defensive end or a linebacker. Ideally, he would love him to excel in both roles.
“I don’t know,” Williams said when asked what exactly his position was. “If I was going to be labeled I’d probably be labeled defensive end because of my size. But I don’t have a position.”
“He’s a versatile guy,” said Pettine of Williams in Buffalo radio interview. “I think he could play at the defensive end spot. He could play outside linebacker. He could be up. He could be down. I think there will be times in our third down package where he’s down over a guard, down over a center.
By moving Williams around the front seven, Pettine hopes to eliminate offensives being able to take away Williams’ impact from just one position on every down.
“What I don’t want to do with Mario is line him up in one spot where teams can draw a bead on him… He’s always the right defensive end or always the left defensive end. That way they can set formations to help protect. They can chip him with a tight end or a back.”
The Bills hope to get even more out of Williams this season. He finished 2012 with 37 solo tackles, 10.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.