We know about the quickness and the mind blowing change of direction moves in LeSean McCoy. There is hope among the Philadelphia Eagles in their draft picks in Lane Johnson, Will Murphy, Matt Barkley and others. However, if the Eagles are going to get back to dominating the NFC East then there needs to be an emphasis on defense. One terrible corner can sink any defense, but when two corners don’t perform it becomes an unmitigated disaster. Last year fans of the Birds witnessed Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, doing their best impression to imitate paper, for any receiver to tear through on their way to the end zone.
Let this year be different with cornerback Cary Williams, as the new addition on the Eagles squad. Among the talk of the new players his name is rarely brought up but it should be. Anyone that watched his performance for the Baltimore Ravens, should be excited about this guy. He had the unique privilege of playing for one of the NFL’s toughest defenses with Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Ed Reed. Similarly to those top players, he plays with heart and ferocity against any opponent. After last season in Philly, the weak hits on the receivers, the blown coverages, and the lack of emotion (unless whining is an emotion), Williams is a refreshing sight for a team that desperately needs it.
Underrated as a corner, Williams faced some heat from Ravens fans last season for allowing too many completions. But Suggs was out with an injury, as well as other key Ravens players. Allowing a quarterback that much time to throw will make the best corners look like amateurs. Even so, what Williams brings to the table is something sorely needed and that’s tackles. He had over 70 last year, and the tackles he makes are hard hitting, intimidating to foes, and momentum-shifters. Last year the Philly corners were run over and easily swatted away like gnats. Williams is not in this class.
So in training camp as everyone pays attention to the quarterback controversy, the 15 new tight ends, the 18 new running backs, and Chip Kelly trying to appease the reporters, remember the defense. It is what wins games, especially in the East. Williams, if used properly, will be that tough corner that should fit right in to a blue collar Philly town. Alongside of him will be Bradley Fletcher, just acquired from the Denver Broncos. It will be interesting to see how the two work together. It can’t be worse than last season, can it?