Williams, who had been with Philadelphia the last two years after three full seasons in Baltimore, says he was hurt when the Eagles cut him, but is glad now for how things have turned out.
In the same week that Pro Football Focus rated Byron Maxwell as the worst free agent signee in the NFL after four games, his replacement in Seattle, Cary Williams, earned more praise from his coaches and teammates
“(He’s grown) by leaps and bounds,’’ fellow cornerback Richard Sherman said Wednesday.
Sherman was referring in part to Williams’ ability to master Seattle’s “step-kick’’ technique (explained in detail here) which requires cornerbacks to show discipline and patience. The point of the technique is to make the receiver declare his intentions first and to not let him get over the top and is regarded as a key in Seattle’s ability to limit big passing plays the last few years.
“It’s a difficult technique to learn, as I’ve said before, and he’s stayed diligent with it,’’ Sherman said. “He’s stayed with it regardless of if it was going well or not going well. Sometimes you’re tempted to go away from the technique and go back to what you know and what’s brought you success before when you’re not having success with it. But he’s stayed with it, he’s continued to focus on it, continued to work hard at it, and I think you’re seeing him blossom.”
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Williams said prior to week one he felt the technique was finally, well, kicking in.
And with each game he has grown more confident, and says now that learning the Seattle way has him playing as well as any time in his eight-year career.
“I though I was pretty good with the way I was playing before,’’ he said. “I felt like I was doing something right. This is my eighth season. I was having some success with it.
“But I think this allowed me to be a lot more patient, get my hands on guys and I just thinking, just trusting and believing in the system and understanding that if I stay on top I could be successful.’’
Williams signed a three-year, $18 million deal with Seattle after the Eagles let him go in March, and then decided to pursue Maxwell to fill the vacancy.
Williams, who had been with Philadelphia the last two years after three full seasons in Baltimore, says he was hurt when the Eagles cut him, but glad now for how it has turned out.
“I take it personally every day,’’ he said. “So yeah, it is what it is. It’s just like if you lose your job, somebody tells you ‘hey, you weren’t good enough and we want to get you out of there and I feel contrary to that.’
“I definitely don’t feel like they did me a favor by letting me go, but it may have been a favor because I feel like I’m a better place and in a better position and I’m a lot happier in this position and in this place. So I mean I guess what was meant for bad actually turned into something good for me.’’
Playing opposite Sherman means opponents will inevitably look his way to see if there is a weakness to exploit.
It seemed obvious the Lions were trying that throughout Monday’s game, twice throwing deep to Calvin Johnson when he was in man coverage against Williams. Both passes were nowhere close to being complete as the Seahawks held Johnson to just 56 yards on seven receptions.
“I couldn’t think about that (being specifically targeted) at that particular time,’’ Williams said. “And it didn’t matter to me if they were trying to target me or not. The point was I wanted to stay on top and play the best defense I could possibly play. Whether they target me 150 times a game I didn’t want to get beat deep, one and I didn’t want to give up anything and be that guy for my defense.’’