Bengals Officially Ink Williams
Safety Roy Williams has signed on the dotted line in Cincinnati. But will he make a difference in 2009 for the Bengals? Opinions are mixed.
One of the writers over at FanSided’s Dallas blog, thelandryhat.com, says that Williams wasn’t the same after Dallas switched to a 3-4 defense.
"He’s actually had to cover people, which is something that Williams doesn’t really excel at. In fact, he downright stunk at covering people. Some might say that Williams’ recent downturn is due to the lack of a rangy free safety to cover his tail like Darren Woodson did, but I think that big, hard-hitting safeties are being phased out of the pro game.Or being moved to middle linebacker.So good luck at rediscovering some coverage skills or making the switch to inside backer in Cinci, Roy. I’ll be rooting for you."
On the other hand, your truly dropped a line to the lead writer over at the hat this morning. Here’s his take:
"It is bittersweet to see Roy Williams go. He was once probably the fan favorite on the Dallas Cowboys. Drafted in the first round in 2002, he made a splash into the league and made it to five Pro Bowls. But the past three years have really gone down hill for Williams. He shattered his forearm twice, which put him out of commission for last season. His speed declined, as did his hard hits. He was getting burned–and burned real bad–deep.He’s going to one of the worst franchises in the NFL for the past 15 years. That’s a pretty big fall off the football ladder so to speak. But Williams had to go. He lost the support of Cowboys fans who were disappointed too many times in games that saw Williams miss coverage or get beat deep.I doubt you can expect him to take Hines Ward’s head off because he hasn’t been that kind of beast in three years. But if miracles happen, and the Bengals compete this year, he could prove to be a decent pick up. It will be a wait-and-see game with Williams, but his best days are likely done."
Over at ESPN, James Walker checks in with scout.com about Williams.
"Williams has always been a liability if you’re going to have him as a deep-halves player. Coverage in general just isn’t his [specialty]. But he can still smack you and change the game and get turnovers. In this division, as you know, it’s a pretty rugged group with a lot of offenses that want to run the ball. It might be a decent fit for them when teams are trying to put the Bengals away and trying to run out the clock."
For Roy’s part, he’s fired up. Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com reports that Williams didn’t want to wait for the weekend to come sign, but insisted on flying in today to ink the deal and start practicing. After watching him, DC Mike Zimmer and his secondary coaches say people who think Williams can’t cover are nuts.
"After watching him, Zimmer and secondary coaches Kevin Coyle and Louie Cioffi remain perplexed why the knock he remains he can’t cover the pass.“He’s special when he changes direction. He gets so low,” Coyle said, and Zimmer asked, “What more do you want? He bends his knees, he’s low to the ground, the shoulders are in the proper place.”"
I guess we’ll find out, eh?