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tiggerpolice 08-16-2005 02:07 PM

Williams feels like a rookie
Williams feels like a rookie
Baton Rouge native trying to prove himself
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
By Mike Triplett
Staff writer

Cornerback Jimmy Williams was looking for a good home when he became a free agent this year. So that's exactly where he went.

The Baton Rouge native signed with the Saints after four years in San Francisco, despite a crowded mix of returning veterans at his position.

"I was just trying to find a good home, somewhere that fits," said Williams, who has squeezed in two or three trips to Baton Rouge during training camp to see his wife and parents. "It's going good so far, so we'll see."

Williams, 26, has not yet cracked the top four in practice reps, but he outperformed backups Jason Craft and Fred Thomas in Friday's preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks at the Superdome. He also flashed his skills as a punt returner, proving his value and versatility.

Saints coach Jim Haslett called Williams' performance a "pleasant surprise," but it shouldn't have been.

Williams, a fifth-year veteran, did exactly what the Saints were counting on when they signed him to a one-year deal in April to provide depth and experience in several areas.

Williams started six games at cornerback for the 49ers last season. The two previous years, he was the team's top return man, leading the NFL in punt return average at 16.8 yards in 2002. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder also is solid in special teams coverage.

"He's a heck of a football player," Haslett said. "He has liabilities like everybody else in this league, but I thought he did a great job the other night."

Williams, who played at Episcopal High School and Vanderbilt, was drafted in the sixth round by the Buffalo Bills in 2001, but he was released in training camp before being signed to the 49ers' practice squad. He was on the active roster in Week 7.

"It kind of feels like my rookie year all over again," Williams said.

GAME TWO: Haslett said the starting units will play at least three quarters in the Saints' second exhibition game at New England on Thursday night, following the blueprint that was set by the coaching staff heading into training camp.

"We played them a quarter and a half (last week), and we are going to go three this week," Haslett said. "So I think it's a good test for our football team. We're playing a (three-time) champion, and they will play their starters a lot more."

The Saints and Patriots probably won't reveal much of their playbooks, especially since they play again at New England in the regular season Nov. 20. Haslett said Thursday's game will be even more valuable for the Saints because, "it will give us a sense of what it takes to win in a place like that."

GOOD GRIEF: Saints rookie quarterback Adrian McPherson took plenty of ribbing from friends and teammates after lining up behind the right guard during his NFL debut against the Seahawks.

"I mostly got it from people back home," said McPherson, who said he had 20 messages on his cell phone after the game. "It's all in fun. It happens. I tried to take it in stride."

As for the rest of his performance, McPherson, a fifth-round draft pick, said he did "OK." He led the team on a 14-play, 53-yard drive that stalled at the Seahawks' five-yard line in his only series. He completed three of seven passes and ran four times for 25 yards.

WhoDat 08-16-2005 02:36 PM

RE: Williams feels like a rookie

"He's a heck of a football player," Haslett said.
My God. Are you f*&%$!# kidding me?

Hey Jim, what do you think about Jonathan Sullivan?

Well, he's a heck of a football player. He just needs to slim down a little, but we're real excited about him.

It's a wonder we never perform well. I'm starting to believe that Haslett is a robot. Everybody's a Heckuva football player until the Saints are 4-8. Then it's "Error, error, does not compute, does not compute... I just don't understand. We practiced great. We have a heckuva lot of heckuva good football players. :evil:

JOESAM2002 08-16-2005 02:47 PM

I was at the Seahawk game and was surprised to see Sullivan play hard more plays than he took off. I watched him just to see how he played.He actually tried. It was a pleasent surprise. Granted it was against their 2nd and 3rd string but at least he was trying.

BoudinSandwich 08-16-2005 03:34 PM

I was actually really impressed with Jimmy Williams. He showed heart and desire to play for this football team.

BlackandBlue 08-16-2005 03:59 PM

Me too, OldiesDJ. It appeared that he was making plays all over the field.

jnormand 08-16-2005 04:11 PM

LMAO! I love the heckuva stuff! I know. I like Haz, but he says that about everything. Venturi is a heckuva coach, A-Mac is a heckuva football player, Bensen is a heckuva guy. LOL!

bayouking318 08-16-2005 05:42 PM

(whodat) good complaint but wrong guy. I agree about Sully, but JW did play better than Fred Thomas & Jason Craft. I hardly notice when Fred was on the field. I wish I could say the same about JC.

LordOfEntropy 08-16-2005 06:50 PM

Williams was on fire that game, very impressive. Let's see how he does the remainder of the preseason.

In my view, he's already in front of Craft on the depth chart.

WhoDat 08-17-2005 08:37 AM


(whodat) good complaint but wrong guy.
I wasn't really knocking Jimmy. I agree with what's been said in this thread about his play. I just wish Haslett would stop the "heckuva" crap. LOE has a heckuva avatar. Billy was a heckuva poster. My vocabulary should be a heckuva lot better.

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