In touch with reality


Well-Known Member
Jan 22, 2006
Reaction score
In touch with reality
Williams' first season was eye-opener; so was cornerback's play

By Jeff Legwold, Rocky Mountain News
July 31, 2006

ENGLEWOOD - It is all the difference between what he thought and what he knows.

Darrent Williams thought professional football simply was a game of speed and weight room power.

"That's what I thought - all physical," Williams said. "I thought it was all running, matching up, doing your thing. But you get here and you see, this is the pros, the NFL. You need to run, but you have to think about where you're going, too.

"I think this game is about 80 percent mental . . . you know, about 70 percent more than I thought it was back then."

Back then would be all of one full calendar year for Williams. Back then, the Broncos cornerback, the team's first pick in the 2005 draft as a second-rounder, primarily was seen as a kick returner who could play on defense if things went right, seen as a specialist who just might be given more time.

So, flip those 12 pages, take a look and things are decidedly different these days. Now Williams is a projected starter at cornerback the Broncos would rather not risk returning kicks unless it's necessary.

"That was just back then," Williams said with a smile. "I knew I would surprise some people. I wasn't just a returner or anything like that. I was a shut-down corner all through college (with Oklahoma State); I was like Champ Bailey in college. I was the guy people stayed away from.

"I know they saw me like I was only a returner, but I knew what I could do. I just had to show them."

By the end of training camp, Williams had shown the Broncos enough that he was set to push himself into the starting lineup by the time the Chiefs came to Denver in September for Monday Night Football.

Williams started nine games, missing one because of a sprained right ankle and the last three of the regular season because of a right groin injury. This year, he has spent much of the offseason workouts and the early part of training camp with the starters, in the spot opposite Bailey.

"So it's a lot more relaxed this time, not so much pressure because I pretty much know the defense," Williams said. "Now it's about coming here and getting better. Before, you're doing all you can do just to learn the defense; now you can come out here and get better, working on my craft, my technique. Because if you don't, they have somebody else who will."

And that would be the rest of the Broncos' cornerback class of the 2005 draft - Domonique Foxworth and Karl Paymah. Foxworth, because of injuries to others, also was in the lineup more than initially expected.

The former Maryland cornerback started seven games, having played for Bailey, Williams and Lenny Walls. And the distance between Williams and Foxworth, who has lined up as the extra defensive back in the nickel package during camp, on the depth chart is not enough for anyone to be comfortable.

"They know what I can do, they know what (Williams) can do," Foxworth said. "The coaches are smart, they'll do whatever they think will help the team win. . . . I'm sure that's going to be a big deal to other people in this camp, but it's not really a big deal to the two of us. We both can play, we've already talked about how we both know that we're going to play."

Added safety John Lynch: "Competition is great, you can either handle it or you can't. If you can't handle it, you probably don't belong on the field anyway. They all want to be on the field, but they all help each other, too. We're just fortunate to have rookies who know how to be professionals at this point in his career."

Williams, though, said during the offseason he wasn't sure how any of this was going to shake out after a brush with the law in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas.

In February, Williams was cited by police for playing his car stereo too loud and a passenger in his car, DeAngelo Stevenson, was arrested for possession of marijuana.

The incident took place near the house of Williams' mother, and Williams briefly had a Taser pointed at him by police as a crowd gathered. The police eventually let Williams go when Stevenson told officers the marijuana was his.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has said he looked into the incident and talked with Williams to "make sure what went on, and I don't think there is a problem."

"I talked to coach Shanahan right after it happened and told him about it all," Williams said. "It was just somebody I was with; luckily, I wasn't doing anything bad. But you have to worry about what the people you're with are doing, too.

"It just showed me you have to worry about where you are; you're under the microscope all the time. It opened my eyes a little bit. I want to do what I'm doing for a long time, so you got to think. It's the whole thing, man, you've got to think."

Back for more

• Darrent Williams, Domonique Foxworth and Karl Paymah were the Broncos' cornerback class of the 2005 draft. The Broncos have plans for them as Williams, now a starter, is trying to hold off Foxworth to maintain the spot, while Paymah is seeing time in some of the defense's specialty packages. How they fared in 2005:

Player G GS T Int.

Darrent Williams 12 9 58 2

Domonique Foxworth 16 7 66 2

Karl Paymah 13 0 3 0,2777,DRMN_23918_4882586,00.html
This thread has been closed due to inactivity. You can create a new thread to discuss this topic.