My first impression of D.J. Williams was that he was the only good player among a bunch of bad ones. The truth is, he was horrible for much of the year. The fact is we would have been better off starting Wesley Woodyard than D.J. towards the end of the season. I don't know what the problem was, but he was missing gap assignments, missed tackles, ran into referees, ect ect.
The only thing he was really good at was chasing guys down from behind. If I had to place blame on something outside of D.J.'s control it would have to be that he was asked to play a different position each year. Perhaps it finally caught up with him. After playing MLB all year, he seemed to keep trying to go after the MLB assignments rather than his own. Though at this level, even that is unacceptable as an excuse.
My NFL Re-Cutter for Week 4. Look for D.J. Williams and see how he misses his gap assignments and takes horrible angles. He even moved over and tried to plug the same hole as Nate Webster that sprung Larry Johnson on one of the long runs. I am not saying he played like that the entire season, but this game was indicative of many of the mistakes he was making throughout the 2008 season.
I even regret having come down so hard on Nate Webster. It wasn't Nate who was blowing his assignments, it was D.J. Once I swallowed my bias towards Nate Webster, I began to realize that he had one of his best seasons as a pro. Webster still isn't anything more than a backup, but I can no longer blame him for what were obviously D.J.'s mistakes. Webster maintained his responsibilities while still missing tackles and celebrating too often, but he kept his assignments.
Now that is not to say D.J. Williams is worthless and needs to be cut. Far from that, I just think he had an off year and also had trouble adjusting to yet another position. I hope for 2009 that we move him back inside to the ILB position. He won't be a true MLB, but he will have the advantage of playing every linebacker position imaginable in his short career. With his athleticism he should excel in a 3-4 defense as long as we get another big time ILB in the draft like Rey Muauluga. I expect big things from him going forward and hopefully he can put 2008 behind him.
|2008 - D.J. Williams||11||2.5||13||0||0||0||68||25||93|