What Cary Williams Does and Doesn't Bring to the Philadelphia Eagles
On Tuesday, we took an in-depth look at new Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher to determine how the former St. Louis Ram would fit in with the Eagles. Now, let's analyze fellow newbie corner Cary Williams to draw some conclusions in regard to what he will and won't bring to Philly.
What he brings...
Williams started and played a huge role in the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers. He was too slow to get over in zone coverage and missed a tackle on Michael Crabtree's 31-yard second-half touchdown...
All in all, he's started six playoff games the last two years, giving up only that sole touchdown to Crabtree while recording a pair of interceptions. He rarely stood out in coverage in those games, but he was never a goat.
The Eagles need some guys who can come in and force turnovers. They had only 13 takeaways last season, which was the second-lowest 16-game total in NFL history. And while Williams came into the 2012 season with only three forced fumbles and zero interceptions in 39 career games, he developed a knack for taking the ball away in his second full season as a starter.
Williams had six interceptions in total, with two of them coming in the playoffs. He would have led the Eagles in picks and takeaways.
He seemed to be in the right place at the right time a lot, particularly on bad passes from Matt Cassel and Tony Romo, but he still possessed good hands and completed the picks. Plus, being in the right place at the right time can require good anticipation skills.
A great example of that came when he jumped this Travis Benjamin route against the Cleveland Browns for a pick-six...
This is also something the Eagles desperately need from their defensive backs. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha weren't physical enough, but Williams missed only three tackles in 2012 while recording 72.
That made him the league's second-most efficient tackler at the cornerback position, according to Pro Football Focus. In that same category, Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie ranked 41st and 64th, respectively, out of 71 qualifying corners.
From Baltimore's regular-season matchup with Denver, here's a good example of how instinctual and aggressive Williams can be. Look at the way he breaks on the run and pursues Knowshon Moreno in the backfield for a one-yard loss...
That video clip from Williams' introductory press conference in Philadelphia reveals the kind of intense, fiery guy he is. He has a chip on his shoulder, a short temper and he likes to jaw. He'll take some personal fouls, but there isn't much you can do about that mean streak.
Expect to see a lot of this...
What he doesn't bring...
Quality coverage on a consistent basis
Sorry, Eagles fans, but Williams is not a shutdown corner.
In back-to-back weeks in October this past season, Andre Johnson and Dez Bryant combined to catch 10 passes on 10 targets against him. Against those two top weapons and DeSean Jackson, Brandon Lloyd, Eric Decker, Greg Little and Pierre Garcon, he surrendered 34 catches on only 39 throws. For opposing quarterbacks, that's an 87 percent completion clip.
Only four corners gave up more receptions than Williams did during the 2013 regular season, and only three corners surrendered more yards in coverage. Granted, he was targeted a lot, but that's a problem in and of itself.
After watching tape from the entire 2012 season, I noticed Williams was beat all year long on comeback routes and ins and outs, while often holding his own on slants, posts and flies. That's unusual for a guy who's known for his aggressiveness.
Brady and Lloyd picked on him in two separate games this past season, but they never got him deep. They just chipped away...
He also struggled with Eric Decker and Peyton Manning. His worst play of the season came against the Broncos in Week 15, when Decker crushed him on a double move before Williams seemed to give up on the play altogether...
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