Williams, ‘D’ Eager To Wash Out Bad Taste

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Cary Williams still thinks about the horse collar tackle. He replays it in his mind and believes he could have taken down Darren Sproles without drawing that costly penalty. He  thinks about instances where he allowed a running back to drag him for extra yards rather than just taking out his legs. He thinks about the loss to the Saints, and other missteps along the way, and it bothers him.

“Every season, every team wants to focus on winning the Super Bowl, and when you fall short it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. So I think everybody that’s here is hungry. Everybody here is motivated, everybody that’s here wants to win. The way that we went out last year is something that we couldn’t necessarily be proud of,” said Williams. “There are some plays that left a bad taste in my mouth and there are several guys that feel the same way.”

There are some positives to draw from the defense’s performance last season. Playing in a brand new scheme with some pieces that weren’t natural fits, Billy Davis‘ unit finished second in the league in takeaways (31), behind only the Seahawks.  The defense put together a nine-week stretch where it held opponents to 21 points or less.

Williams wasn’t exactly in the mood to pat his group on the back or gush about potential, however, when addressing the media after practice earlier this week. Asked how good this defense can be with a year of experience under its belt, Williams offered an answer that was probably different from what the reporter was expecting.

“I think we can be better than 32,” he said. “To me that’s not very impressive. I don’t think it’s impressive to anybody out here.”

The “32” refers to the team’s ranking in pass yards allowed last season — that would be dead last in the NFL. The Eagles yielded 4,636 yards through the air in all, or 290 yards per game. [The Seahawks, in contrast, allowed 172 yards per game.] It’s hard to look past that as a defensive back, so you can forgive Williams if he wasn’t willing to pound his chest. That’s not to say that he isn’t encouraged by what has gone on so far this offseason.

“We have to do better than that, we have to improve, and I think we’re on the right path with that,” he said. “We have guys that have come in and give us great depth, guys that will come in and compete and make everybody better, and I think we’re on the right path.”

Cornerback depth was an issue last season. This year, Nolan Carroll and Jaylen Watkins have been added to the mix. How does Williams view the competition?

“To be honest with you,  I don’t expect anything to be given to me. I’m going to work my tail off to get it. If it’s going to be a battle, it’s going to be a battle. Just know that the veteran is going to play his ass off. It’s never a backing down situation with me. I give those guys all the kudos and credit for getting themselves here and understand that they have worked their tails off just as well as I did to get to this point. But I’m here, so you’re going to have to take it from me.”

Williams missed a good portion of spring practices last year as he tended to some off-field matters. (Obligatory sconce reference upcoming.) With his house now in order — both figuratively and from a sconce perspective (there it is) — he has  been a regular at these OTAs. And it’s not just him. The attendance rate has been very strong for these voluntary workouts.

Why is that?

“I just think that everybody is hungry,” Williams said.

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  • JBShakes

    I’m glad Williams wants the defense to improve, but I get a little worried when I see players buying into “yards allowed” as a true measure of how the defense performed, especially given the way this offense functions.

    Is it fair to say this pass defense is still a work in progress? Of course. Were they actually the “worst” pass defense in the league last year? Of course not – they gave up a bunch of yards because the offense runs at a high tempo and the defense plays more snaps as a result. The truth is that defensively, this team was probably somewhere closer to where there points allowed ranking slots them – 17th. Just a little below average. If they can avoid disaster games like Denver and Minnesota, they’ll be just fine this year, even without any significant contributions from the younger players.

    • Andy

      Good point. I honestly don’t mind if that stat puts more of a chip on Carey’s shoulder, but you are right.

      If the offense scores a lot of points (and scores quickly) the game is just going to have more total possessions, and therefore the defense is going to give up more yards and points even if they give up a league-average number of yards and points per opponents’ possession. A fast-paced offense results in more possessions for both teams, and therefore more of everything. And in overall defensive stats, more is less.

    • anon

      Last is last. If i’m a Db that’s the stat i’m looking at and frankly, i want guys that can own the stat and improve. Maybe Sconces doesn’t have the talent to be better but he’s got the right attitude. At the end of the day you are what the numbers say you are.

      That 272 is even worse considering we played GB w.out AR, final Cowboys game without Romo, and crushed the bears (i don’t think they even tried to pass the ball).

    • usmcnole

      I agree with most of what you said but you cant fault a player for not being content with last place in any category

    • paul from nc

      I think he has exactly the right motto. Yards allowed is a good measure for defensive backs. They did very well in turnovers, but last in yds was no fluke. How many 3rd and longs did they give up. I remember throwing things at the TV several times last year.

  • Glenn

    I’m glad that Williams is talking about improving the defense’s level of play rather than sconces this time around!

  • Warhound


  • JAMIN67

    I’m just happy he hasn’t moved on to croissants.

    • Andy124

      I was more worried about duvets.

      • Johnny Domino

        Or duvet covers.

        And don’t get me started about antimacassers

        • Maggie


    • Maggie

      Hey! Hold on a minute! Croissants are FOOD! Loaded with butter!

  • Corey Dawson

    Can we start a petition that Sheil And Tim only refer to Williams as “Sconces”? How many signatures would it take.

  • myeaglescantwin

    I wont be able to take him seriously unitl he shaves that 5th grade attempt at a beard.
    You’re a professional. cmon man.

    • cliff henny

      that’s the Redd Foxx beard

  • dislikedisqus

    I thought the D really came a long way last year. So many changes in the first few months. The season-long stats like total yards allowed don’t reflect the progress made. Also, defensive philosophy has to be taken into account. Davis said it’s a scoreboard, not a yardage board. JJ was similarly uninterested in yardage stats.

    • Eagles1018

      Definitely agree. Those outlier games (Den and Minn vs that 9 game 22 or less point stretch) does worry me still. I don’t want that outlier type game to happen in the stretch run of the playoff hunt or worse. Our level of competition will be first place teams so it’s not gonna be a walk in the park.

      • cliff henny

        not that it was all his fault, but no Chung is heck of a start. though, same people selling us Jenkins/Allen were pushing Chung/Allen 12 months ago on us

        • Eagles1018

          I’m not gonna lie and say I’ve done tons of film study on Jenkins (aka our fellow posters and maybe even me that “studied” the prospects in this last draft via YouTube) but I’m almost confident he’s an upgrade over Chung. I also know people aren’t excited about Nate Allen but I like him. I don’t love him but I was excited to see his potential from when he was drafted. Imagine, this be only his second consecutive year in one defensive scheme although it’s his 5th year on the same team. Just shows what a mess our coaching staff has been

  • Max Lightfoot

    Now that they have a year together and some depth, they will no longer need to play over their talent level every game this season. Even if they improve to, say, the 16th-rated defense, the Eagles should be devastating overall.

  • bushisamoron

    for the back end to succeed, the front seven must get to the QB. That simple really (see Peyton Manning and Tom Brady’s recent super bowl performances).

    • OldDocRoss

      True, but for the back end to succeed the back end must also be good at football and for the last few years the Eagles’ secondary has been mostly filled with players who were pretty terrible.

      Nnamdi, DRC, Chung, Page, Curtis F’N Marsh, Brandon Hughes, Coleman, Colt, Sconces…….

      You could bring back Reggie and Clyde Simmons and those guys still wouldn’t have looked good.

      • bushisamoron

        I think I have to agree. The days of Bobbie Taylor, Troy Vincent and BDawk are gone but we still need some serious pressure up front. Watching QB’s scan the field against us on third down with no one in their face was tough to swallow.

  • anon

    Thank God for C-Will, people hated last pre-season, but he’s at least got the right mentality. We need to get some more ravens players in here.

    • Token

      Without talent mentality doesnt mean much.

      Cant believe hes starting again.

      • Joe L

        Pretty much. If he didn’t maul the WR at the line he was beaten like a drum more often than not.

    • OldDocRoss

      Don’t mind his attitude, don’t love his play. He’s an OK stop gap but the sooner we upgrade from him the better IMO.

  • JoeyJoeJoeJuniorShabadoo

    I feel like one of a few Eagle fans who liked Cary…

    • Maggie

      I kind of did too. To a point. He put his family first when the OTA’s were voluntary and too bad if a bunch of people didn’t like it. Isn’t that a Philly attitude? The rest of the time he seemed to be all in for the team. Doing the best he could in the circumstances, just like most of us.

      • OldDocRoss

        To be clear, I have zero problem with him missing time last pre-season. I just think he’s not very good. Tries hard, so I don’t hate him or anything, but effort ain’t enough to make him good.

        And the less “not good” people we have starting the better.

        • Maggie

          “To a point.” ;~)

      • paul from nc

        I liked his on field attitude better than his play.
        But the family first is not a Philly thing. We want to win the games and could care less about their home life. But, I do think when he’s playing, it’s all football
        It’s the reason Phil Mickelson couldn’t stay #1 after Tiger fell. No heart, To him there were more important things than golf and he let it effect him on the course. If that’s the way he felt, good for him. But I don’t want him (Phil) on my team.

    • G_WallyHunter

      After quotes like this I love him

  • paul from nc

    The new Eagles motto — “I think we can be better than 32”
    You’d think he played for the Phillies

    • knighn

      You’re close. The Phillies motto is:
      “Must be older than 32”

  • mtn_green

    Turnover rate per play probably not so good.

  • distantfires

    great article, grt wrtng….

  • jshock215

    Are yall watching the same games? by the time the defense starting rolling the corners was holding up their end. we got NO pressure on the QB NONE and we yall toasting the Carry Williams? yall still mad about OTA’s last season? get the heck over it. is he a lock down corner no but I did any corner kill him ? did yall watch that chicago game or the cardinals how about the detroit game. the Saints didnt even smoke our corners, nobody killed our corners in the second half of the season. we got to be more knowledgeable fans then this.