Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Cary Williams seems to have earned a reputation as a bad player within the blogosphere. But is this reputation justified? Lets take an objective look at his play.
In the last three games, Williams has faced some of the best wide receivers the NFL has to offer. This list includes the Green Bay Packers’ Jordy Nelson, the Washington Redskins’ Pierre Garcon, and the Arizona Cardinals’ All-World Larry Fitzgerald. And in that same span, Williams has recorded 16 total tackles, three pass defends and an interception. To delve even deeper into the statical rabbit hole, since the 2012 season, only corners Tim Jennings, Patrick Peterson, and Richard Sherman have more interceptions than him.
But Williams’ value goes far beyond statistics as he brings an infectious “street brawler” mentality to the field. In the run game, he fights to get off blocks and sticks his head into plays. This is the polar opposite from his predecessor, the now unemployed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
Williams is the Eagles fourth leading tackler with 47 solo tackles to date. While he probably doesn’t run the 4.43 40 like he did coming into the league, Williams’ length and technique help him turn in solid performances week after week. According to Eagles analyst Bryn Swantz, Williams has allowed a 76.7 passer rating so far this season, two touchdowns and snagged three interceptions.
Part of his hidden value is that Williams often gets receivers thinking about him during the game, distracting them from their team goals. And he is not afraid to incite a fight and throw some receivers off their game i.e. Eagles wideout Jeremy Maclin in 2012. Williams’ game is to give up a cushion in off coverage and then quickly rally to make the tackle without allowing any yardage after the catch.
And now the former seventh round pick by the Houston Texans in 2008 will face the league’s best receiver in Calvin Johnson as Philadelphia hosts the Detroit Lions this week. If Williams can make Johnson fight for his catches and tackle him immediately, then the Eagles will have a fighting chance to pull an upset.
Cary Williams is a lightning rod amongst Eagles fans. Although his frank nature has rubbed many fans the wrong way, Williams is a solid player who consistently makes plays. His summertime issues of missed voluntary workouts due to “sconces” and “recitals” as well as fist fights with Eagles wideout Riley Cooper have made him some enemies. But his play and influence should help the veteran fan realize what he brings to the table is substantial. At only 28, and with two more years left in his contract, Williams should be in Eagles Green next year helping develop their younger players too make similar impacts on this team.