Since signing with the Philadelphia Eagles in March, there hasn’t been more of a lightning rod in the City of Brotherly Love than Cary Williams.
Between skipping out on preseason OTAs in favor of attending his daughter’s dance recital or to choose sconces for his new home, Williams was more of a part-time participant during the team’s spring practices. Now nearly a month into training camp, Williams has taken part in a total of four full practices while battling nagging hamstring injuries.
Still, Williams’ simply can’t resist the allure of the spotlight.
Having won a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens last season, Williams feels he knows what it’s like to play for a team and on a defense that is feared across the league. Sunday, the 28-year old corner back made it clear that toughness and tenacity are clearly missing from the Eagles.
“I feel like we need the nasty, no question,” Williams said Sunday. “I feel like we need to establish a tenacity, a hard-nosed defense, something that is to be feared when it comes out there each and every week.”
“Right now, I don’t know if there’s anybody out there in this league that fears this defense, especially after last week. So I think we have to come together, find a way to get back to those old days when Brian Dawkins was here and strike the fear in individuals, and teams.
To his credit, Williams is right.
This is a defense that allowed just over 28 points per game in 2012, finishing as the 29th-scoring defense in a season that was marred by mis-communication and poor tackling, and saw two defensive coordinators take the helm to try and right the ship, which proved to be a failing venture.
During the team’s joint practices with the New England Patriots last week, Tom Brady picked apart this secondary, namely Curtis Marsh. This prompted the Patriots to take their trash talk game to the next level after each touchdown the third-year corner allowed, and was something Williams clearly resented.
“They came in there talking. They had a lot of jokes and he-hes and laughs,” Williams pointed out. “A lot of dirty plays going on. There was a reason behind what I did … At the end of the day I still have to do things the way coach wants me to do it, and I understand that, but it definitely would have been a different situation if it was Baltimore. It wouldn’t have been a fun practice for the Patriots, I’ll tell you that.”
The defense allowed two 80-yard scoring drives against the Patriots and looked listless in the process. Whether it’s more tackling to the ground during practice or taking Williams’ words to heart, something needs to change to inject some heart, passion and toughness into this defense.
Matt Lombardo is also a sports radio host on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow him on Twitter.