Greedy Williams is tackling his problems head on.
The Cleveland Browns rookie dropped in the NFL draft because team’s were worried about his willingness to be physical and tackle. So far, it hasn’t been a problem for the Browns second-round pick, pleasing his coaches.
Defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker said it was nice to see Williams lurking around the line of scrimmage during the team’s 30-10 preseason win over the Redskins on Thursday.
“No question. It is hard in practice because you do not get a lot of live reps so it is nice to see in a live setting,” Walker said. “All you want to see is a guy willing [to tackle]. We call guys ‘Is he a willing tackler?’ I think he proved he is willing so he will continue to get better.”
Williams not only showed some physicality in the preseason tilt, but also his coverage skills, which are what made him a highly-touted prospect. Williams snagged an interception toward the end of the first half off an overthrow by Redskins rookie QB Dwayne Haskins.
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It’s not all been rainbow and butterflies for Williams so far. Against the Redskins, a miscommunication between Williams and fellow rookie safety Sheldrick rRdwine led to a blown coverage and a 46-yard touchdown pass from Washington quarterback Case Keenum to receiver Robert Davis.
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“What happens when it is a deep ball and the corners are running back kind of late, a lot of times they do not get back into the huddle,” Walker said. “It is his responsibility, but at the same time as a defense and as a secondary, we have to make sure that we communicate those things to make sure everyone knows what the next call is.”
A player Williams is relying on for advice is second-year corner Denzel Ward, who faced a similar path as Greedy, entering his first season with big expectations. Ward was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 draft and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Walker said while the duo are linked as talented, young corners in the same organization, the expectations are a little different.
“This staff, we want [Williams] to maybe have to earn it versus with Denzel last year, he kind of proved early that he belonged,” Walker said. “With Greedy, just kind of bringing him along a little slower. At some point – he is a good football player – he is going to help our team.”
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Williams started training camp off on the right foot, snagging a pair of picks on just the second day, including a sprawling interception of Baker Mayfield on a ball intended for Odell Beckham Jr.
Williams’ play has started to build momentum for him to wrangle a starting spot, but head coach Freddie Kitchens echoed Walker in that nothing will be given to Greedy without him earning it.
“We make a decision going into training camp of how we are going to start. You can’t play but 11 at a time, and that is who ended up out there first,” Kitchens told reporters. “There are a lot of positions that people may have penciled in, but we are competing for these jobs. Hell, (Terrance) Mitchell is not going anywhere. He is going to be here and he is going to compete. T.J. Carrie is going to be here. They are going to compete. Greedy is not going to just get handed the job.”
The Browns next preseason game is Aug. 17 against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.