Musical chairs

I was asked yesterday after practice what position I prefer to play. Right now, the coaches are moving me all over the place. I'm getting reps at defensive end after spending the majority of the offseason at defensive tackle. I don't know if that's how it's going to be during the season, but wherever I end up, I'll be ready to play there. So I really don't have any preference, because I just love to be out there.

If I were asked the position I feel most comfortable at, though, it would be at end. That's where I've played the majority of my career. At tackle, I'm working in the three technique, which means I line up on the outside shoulder of either guard. That's tough, but I continue to work at it every day. My goal is to feel equally as comfortable at both positions by the end of training camp.

On the inside, you're facing a lot more double teams than you do on the outside. On the outside, you're more one-on-one with blockers and you have more space to work with. That pounding inside the tackles can take a toll on you. If you don't have the body type to take it, it can wear you down during the season.

One thing that helps all of us on the defensive line is having someone like Mario Williams, who can demand double teams. Mario is a man child. For a man his size, to move the way he does, it's impressive. As soon as he gets these little technique things down, he's going to be a force to be reckoned with in this league. There is no doubt about it.

Right now, he just overpowers guys. He hasn't developed every move yet, but he has the unique ability to just put his head down and run over people. It's impressive, and the second he fine-tunes his technique, his athletic abilities will take him far beyond the rest of us.

On Saturday, during our first preseason game, I think we gave fans a small glimpse of what we can do on the defensive line. Even though the first unit didn't play a lot, I thought we gave good effort.

I played around 16 plays in the game. It felt good. I think on the second drive I played 13 snaps in a row, so that had me taxing a little bit. But I thought I played well. I got some pressure on the quarterback, even though I didn't get a sack.

Playing out of that three technique is definitely a lot different. You're not just beating one guy. You almost have to beat two linemen every play to get to the quarterback. Overall, I played well, even though I could've been a little stouter against the run. But that will come.

After four years in Baltimore, I must say that it felt a little weird running out of the tunnel in Houston for the first time in front of that home crowd. I got the butterflies again a little bit. I haven't had the butterflies in a long time. But last week I got them and it was exciting to be out there. The crowd was fantastic, and I'm glad we could deliver a win.

I don't know how close fans were watching me during pregame warm-ups, but I have a little routine I go through before each game. After introductions, I'll run down to the sideline to the 20- or 25-yard line, and I'll do a little spin and then I'll go to the bench. I don't know why I do it, but I've always done it. It's worked, so I'm going to keep on doing it.

On an unrelated note, I don't know about you guys, but I'm getting really excited for the college football season to begin. Of course, I'm a Notre Dame fan, so I have high expectations for the guys. Glenn Earl and I are going to be talking a lot of trash around the locker room this season.

Our boys gave us hope last year, and I know they're setting the bar high this season. Hopefully, they can go and win this whole thing. If their defense can get back on track, I think they'll be really good. I know head coach Charlie Weis is going to get things corrected after the Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State last year. We're not going to see the same thing again.

Check back soon for my thoughts on our upcoming game at St. Louis. Until then, take care.


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