FOXSports.comâs Brendon Ayanbadejo caught up with Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Cary Williams for a wide-ranging interview. Ayanbadejo and Williams were teammates last season on the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Cary Williams isn't pulling any punches.
Hunter Martin / Getty Images North America
By Brendon Ayanbadejo
FOXSports.com’s Brendon Ayanbadejo caught up with Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Carey Williams for a wide-ranging interview. Ayanbadejo and Williams were teammates last season on the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
How does it feel to get finally back on top?
It feels good. The season is a marathon, not a sprint. We are just trying to continue to work and we understand it was going to be difficult coming in with a new coaching staff, a revamped defense and guys that are unfamiliar with each other. We knew it was going to take a while for us to form a bond and know what our responsibilities are. We have some guys that were playing positions they were not use to. It was kind of difficult. For the most part, we continue to work hard, not complain about our assignments. We continue to press, and don’t let the noise and negative things that were happening affect where we are right now. We are doing pretty well. We are not going to be complacent. It’s a time we need to work and strive to get better every week.
How has Nick Foles changed the dynamic of this team?
Ball security and keeping the ball on our side is huge. Early in the season we had a lot of turnovers and we weren’t necessarily forcing a lot of turnovers. It created an imbalance and it hurt the team. Michael Vick is a tremendous player. Nick Foles is a tremendous player. Both guys bring different dimensions to the offense and add their own swagger. For the most part Nick has been playing lights out. He has been doing a tremendous job in the locker room. Both him and Vick. It takes a different type of player or a different type of man to come to the realization that this is Nick’s team and accept the role of a backup quarterback. It just shows what type of leadership Michael Vick has had as an Eagle.
I have seen you out there each week battling. Most of the time you win and sometimes you lose, and you are even penalized on occasion. One of your former coaches Chuck Pagano considered this the cost of doing business. How much of an influence has Chuck “Strong” Pagano been in making you the player you are today?
I think Chuck Pagano was one of the top coaches I had in my career. Chuck brought a different dynamic to the game. We worked on everything, from hand placement to foot placement to eyes, keys and responsibility. Making sure I do my job and doing everything within my power to help the defense. He helped me play to my strengths. He helped me to understand some of the things in my abilities that I do best. He basically fed me and worked with me even though I wasn’t necessarily ready when I first got to Baltimore. I try to learn as much as I possibly can. He’s one of the guys you can trust and talk to about anything. He’s such a great spirit and such a cool coach.
I like that you talk about the trust factor within a team. I would like to touch more on that later. Let’s talk about Riley Cooper. How did the situation galvanize the team? Not just with the racial slur but also with the altercation involving you and him in practice?
I think every team has adversity. No one is going to have a perfect season. We had our trials and tribulations and what we went through helped form a stronger bond. With the Riley Cooper situation, I wasn’t necessarily pleased with the words he used. I still feel like there was a better word or term he could have used in that situation despite the fact that he was angry. But the thing is we have moved on as a team and I have moved on. He has done tremendous for us this year in the receiving game. I think he has seven touchdowns is 300 yards away from 1000 yards. We were talking earlier this week about it. This is the past and we are working on our relationship and hopefully we can build a trust and a relationship that goes beyond professionalism. Maybe we could hang out a couple times during the year or in a couple weeks. Riley Cooper is a competitive guy and I am a competitive guy. It was a misunderstanding and a fight broke out. The media turned it into something that was more than what it was. Collectively as a team we have moved on.
You are facing another streaky/highly talented team in the Lions this Sunday after beating the Cardinals. What will it mean to get a win vs the NFC division leader?
It will be huge for our standing in the NFC and our press toward the mark of the playoffs. We just have to take it one week at a time. We don’t need to worry about the playoffs. We need to worry about the Detroit Lions. These guys are a great outfit. They don’t give up many sacks. Stafford is a gunslinger. He’s a guy who can get the ball into tight windows. He will make mistakes but he will continue to throw the ball with confidence, accuracy and velocity. He has a huge arm and he has great weapons on the outside, guys who are tall, 6-5, and can run. They have a huge catch radius to catch the ball away from their bodies that makes it difficult for a lot of defensive backs to defend them. We see it as a big challenge, but I think we have a great game plan in place. I think it starts up front this week. Get our hands in Stafford’s face, get him off his mark in the pocket. Muddying the pocket a little bit, making sure he doesn’t get an opportunity to step up and step into throws. Keeping him corralled as best as possible because he has the ability to extend plays with his feet.
Let’s pretend it is the end of the season, pick one team, as the wild-card team, to face at home in Philly, the Niners, the Saints or the Panthers. Who and why?
Bring them all on. At that point you don’t care who your opponent is. All you care about is trying to win. It’s all about being hot towards the end. Those are great teams. They have a great ability to score. You have Drew Brees, who is a tremendous passer with great accuracy. You have a young Cam Newtown who is a huge guy, more of a runner/slasher/passer type guy. Steve Smith is a feisty guy. I think that would be a great matchup. We would love to play the 49ers again. Especially after they got Michael Crabtree back and Mario Manningham could be back. Those teams would be a huge challenge for anybody. I am trying to make sure we handle business first and win out.
and not to mention they all have top 5 defenses. Pretty good teams from top to bottom. What do you think about the Incognito incident? Does he get a pass for saying the N-word? And Martin exposing their relationship…does it violate a team trust, that same kind of trust you had mentioned in regards to coach Pagano?
I don’t think he gets a pass for using the N-word. I have heard things about people having passes to use the n-word. I am sorry but where I come from, we don’t give out passes. In my opinion, it is a derogatory term especially when it is a person from another race using it in a derogatory manner toward a black man. That’s difficult to deal with in itself. I don’t know how the NFL will handle the situation. I think the Dolphins did a pretty good job in that situation, suspending Incognito. They went right after it. I think that a lot of teams should take notes after that situation to fix your locker room because your locker room is everything.
As for Martin, I think he had many opportunities to talk to guys to get his story out and his version of the story out. The NFL has player reps and player development directors that do a tremendous job to get guys to talk and not stay within themselves and deal with issues on their own. If there is an issue you feel like you are getting bullied, you can go to the player development directors, to quality control guys, head coach, your coordinator. I don’t think he had to go the route that he went. Then again, you never what is going on his mind in regards to the situation. Maybe he needs some psychiatric help for whatever it is he is going through, maybe he was traumatized.
Race is an issue that needs to be addressed. I think the NFL dabbles in a lot of different areas. This is one that the NFL needs to puts its hand on and control it as best as it possibly can. It is 2013, 2014 you don’t need guys thinking negatively about Black or Hispanic individuals, whatever your race is or whatever your ethnicity may be. You still respect it. The NFL needs to put an emphasis on it and stop shying away from the real issue.
In Baltimore we had a psychiatrist and psychologist available. Do you have that in Philly?
I’m not sure but I am sure if we asked somebody we could get in contact with one. It’s not how Baltimore was. Baltimore was in a class of its own. That’s just the reality. The way they handle things is much different than the way other organizations handle things. No disrespect to our organization at all. But I don’t think we have anything like that where they are in close proximity. I am new to this organization, new to this area but I haven’t asked about it or necessarily seen anyone come up to me to say I am a psychologist if you ever had any issues I am free to talk. I am sure we have those outlets if a player needs it.