New Orleans Saints: Marcus Williams’ best year is yet to come
By Mervin Walls
Over the past four seasons, New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams has played a vital role in the success of the team. Equally important is if the Saints want to remain one of the NFL’s best clubs, then expect Williams to flourish this upcoming season.
This offseason, the Saints hired defensive backs coach Kris Richard to replace coach Aaron Glenn who is now with the Detroit Lions. Richard has coached elite defensive backs such as Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Cam Chancellor.
With the addition of Richard, could Williams have his best season yet? If he does, he could stand to make a large chunk of change considering this is the final year of his rookie deal.
Since 2017, Marcus Williams has played 60 games with 187 solo tackles with 13 interceptions in his career. Williams is one of the league’s best safeties, combining athleticism with elite ball skills to create big plays for the Saints’ defense. Late in the 2020 season, Williams was playing some of the best football of his career and was asked how he has managed to elevate his game.
In a press conference earlier this year, Williams stated:
"“I just keep working each and every day, never take a day off. (It) Started in the offseason with preparation, film study, and just working out as much as I could, with COVID and all that. But it has just been a constant progression of me getting better. That is just what I do. I never, never tried to, you know, digress. I just continue to progress each and every week. And I don’t do a lot of talking. I just do it on the field.”"
Pro Football Focus’ 2021 Season Preview ranked Williams as a top-five safety in the NFL, noting his steady improvement specifically his improved tackling statistics. Whilst free agency has seen the release of quality of defensive players such as Trey Hendrickson and Janoris Jenkins, Williams’ ability to cover the field and create turnovers will surely be critical in the Saints sustaining success in the post-Drew Brees era.
Offensive coordinators around the league are fully aware of the talents of Cameron Jordan and Marshon Lattimore, but this upcoming season may see the emergence of Marcus Williams becoming the best safety in the NFL. If so, the Saints need to prepare to pay him whatever it takes to keep in the Big Easy past 2021.