PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Cary Williams walked his talk.
The fiery cornerback had an impressive debut with the Philadelphia Eagles after being in the spotlight for the wrong reasons throughout the summer.
Williams signed a three-year, $17 million contract, including $10.5 million guaranteed, with the Eagles in the offseason after starting every game the last two seasons for the defending Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens.
He didn’t make a positive first impression in Philadelphia, but made up for it in his first game.
Williams had a sack, made a diving interception to give Robert Griffin III his first career two-pick game and later batted down a pass on a key third down in the Eagles’ 33-27 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.
“Every time I step in between the white lines, it’s my resume,” Williams said. “So starting every time, I’m going to go out there and play my butt off, each and every down, each and every series, each and every play. Just try to make my team better and better myself each and every week.”
Williams certainly silenced his credits with the standout performance.
In June, Williams was vilified by fans and some media members for missing voluntary workouts to deal with various personal issues ranging from attending his daughter’s dance recital to oral surgery to overseeing construction of his new home.
He skipped a trip to the White House with the Ravens to meet President Barack Obama so he could attend mandatory minicamp. But, he didn’t get credit for that because people held the voluntary sessions against him.
Williams then caused a stir during training camp when he was quoted saying he didn’t think any team in the NFL feared the Eagles’ defense.
Last week, Williams made headlines when he fought Riley Cooper in practice. Brawls between teammates happen, of course, but Cooper was recently caught on video making a racial slur. Williams was the first person to throw a punch at him, so the incident became a bigger issue.
None of that stuff mattered when Williams took the field against the Redskins. New defensive coordinator Billy Davis sensed that Williams would shine.
“That’s the Cary Williams we were hoping for,” Davis said. “When you watch him — day in and day out — he’s a fiery competitor, and one of the things that jumped out to me in our Saturday practice where we have just a complete walkthrough, Cary was so focused and intense, his footwork, his eyes, his hand placement.
“You would just feel that Cary was really amping up for this game and taking care of the details and the little things ... and it showed.”
Williams finished with two tackles and two passes defensed.
“He played the way he practiced, and he competes every down in practice like he did every down in that game,” Davis said. “He was rewarded for it.”
It was no surprise for coach Chip Kelly.
“Cary is a really, really good football player,” the rookie coach said, “and I think it showed.”
Williams was a major part of Philadelphia’s secondary makeover. High-priced cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were let go after failing to live up to expectations. Williams and Bradley Fletcher were signed as free agents along with safety Patrick Chung. In the past, the Eagles had specific cornerbacks for the left side and right side. But Williams will likely be lined up against the opponent’s top receiver, week in and week out.
We switch them out in practice so they can get a comfort zone in either one,” Davis said. “So at any time during a game if I felt I wanted to match them, I could, or going into a game plan, we felt we could match them against the best.”
So far, so good.
NOTES: Fletcher remained out of practice because of a concussion and his status for Sunday’s game against San Diego (0-1) is uncertain. “That’s all in the doctor’s hands and there’s also an independent (neurologist) that will see him,” Kelly said. “And if they say he can play, then we’ll make some decisions as a coaching staff on where he is.” ... The Eagles, who welcome Kansas City (1-0) next Thursday to Lincoln Financial Field, will play two home games in a span of five days.