When Cary Williams turned down the Ravens’ $15 million offer during the offseason, many thought it was a bold move for a guy who has never recorded an interception in the NFL.
After his performance against the Patriots, Williams may never see that kind of money offered to him again as he’s a clear liability in the Ravens secondary.
In a last-second penalty infused 31-30 win over the Patriots, Williams led the Ravens with ten tackles – and that wasn’t a good thing, as Tom Brady targeted him all night as the weak-link to the Ravens defense.
Brandon Lloyd benefitted most from Williams’ shortcomings as he led the Patriots in receptions. Seven of his nine total catches came while lined up opposite of Williams, which amounted to 87 of his 108 yards receiving.
Here is a look at Lloyd’s productive night versus Williams:
|Q1 15:00||1st & 10||NE 20||Brady short left to Lloyd for 12 yards|
|Q1 4:26||3rd & 6||NE 13||Brady short left to Lloyd for 11 yards|
|Q1 3:26||2nd & 7||NE 27||Brady short left to Lloyd for 22 yards|
|Q3 11:36||1st & 10||NE 20||Brady short middle to Lloyd for 11 yards|
|Q3 8:56||3rd & 6||NE 49||Brady short left to Lloyd for 10 yards|
|Q3 7:42||2nd & 7||BLT 18||Brady short left to Lloyd for 9 yards|
|Q4 10:50||1st & 10||NE 34||Brady short left to Lloyd for 12 yards|
For most of the night, the Ravens defense was operating out of the nickel against a pass-happy Patriots offense. With the Pats routinely using three wide receivers, the Ravens were forced to use Williams and Jimmy Smith on the outside while Lardarius Webb matched up against New England’s slot receiver, Wes Welker.
Williams appears to have clearly lost a step after coming back from offseason hip surgery. He’s constantly playing catch-up and routinely falls behind receivers in coverage.
Technique also seems to be an issue for Williams, as he doesn’t appear to turn around to find the ball once it’s been thrown. Face guarding isn’t effective in football and it places Williams at a higher risk for a pass interference call, which means he’ll be targeted even more often down the field.
At this point, the thought of using Corey Graham in Williams’ spot has to have at least been considered. Graham was brought in as a free agent to help bolster the special teams unit but he showed throughout the preseason he’s a viable option at corner.
On Thursday the Ravens take on the Cleveland Browns for their second game in four days. If Williams continues to play like he did versus New England, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and John Harbaugh may be forced to at least send a message to Williams by giving Graham some snaps at corner in nickel packages.