New Orleans Saints: P.J. Williams is critical to defensive success
By Mervin Walls
During the 2020 season, the New Orleans Saints became one of the league’s best defensive teams. Unfortunately, this offseason saw the departure of reliable talents such as Kwon Alexander, Trey Hendrickson, and a host of players who brought valuable contributions to the defensive unit.
As training camp approaches, the Saints still have huge questions concerning the cornerback position due to the release of veteran Janoris Jenkins. However, after success in multiple roles in 2020, Saints fans could see a breakout year from cornerback P.J. Williams.
In March, the Saints re-signed Williams, who displayed consistency as he transitioned to the safety position last season. After the signing, Williams was asked about his evolving role within the Saints’ defense. During a press conference call Williams stated:
"“Oh yeah, no doubt. No doubt I feel like it made me a better player. (Playing) in all those positions and understanding the details a lot more and understanding what’s hard at each position and what’s better. So I feel like that definitely made me better player.”"
P.J. Williams is due for a breakout year for the New Orleans Saints.
Since 2014, Williams at times has shown inconsistency at the cornerback position but saw a great improvement in coverage during his 2020 campaign. Williams also displayed the ability to create turnovers with one interception and two fumble recoveries for the defense in 2020. Furthermore, since 2017, Williams has played 60 of 62 games for the Saints, showing the ability to stay healthy throughout the course of the season.
Additionally, in early February, the Saints hired well-respected secondary coach Kris Richard who has shown the ability to bring out his players’ brimming potential. Moreover, with the addition of Richard to the Saints coaching staff, expect Coach Richard to challenge Williams to play at the highest level during his seventh year in the league.
As the Saints seek to remain one of the league’s best defensive units it is critical that the Saints find key contributions from their veteran talents.
Offensive coordinators are familiar with the ability of Saints defensive backs Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams but expect P.J. Williams to become a leader for the New Orleans Saints defense this upcoming season.