With a couple of close misses, Williams shows he’s worth it
DENVER ” If Darrent Williams keeps doing what he’s doing, the touchdowns and interceptions will come and there won’t be anything the referees can do about it.
The Broncos rookie made two big plays last week against San Diego ” a punt return for a touchdown and a game-sealing interception. Or at least he thought he made the plays.
The punt return got called back when the refs, interpreting the rule down to the letter, called the Broncos for too many men on the field because a few had left the sideline behind the play to get ready for the extra point.
“It was just too bad,” Williams said. “I don’t want to say too much more about it or I’ll get in trouble.”
The other play that was called back was an interception he made on the sideline with the game winding down and the Chargers driving. Williams and Keenan McCardell were fighting for the ball and though the play was initially ruled an interception, it was reviewed and overturned ” correctly.
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“My friends called me and told me it looked like a good play,” he said. “But I saw the replay and it was a good call.”
Williams also had a 29-yard punt return and, adding together all the big plays, it’s becoming clear early that he was well worth the second-round draft pick the Broncos spent on him.
“He’s a football player. You’ve seen that from Day 1,” veteran safety John Lynch said. “His mentality, his skills make him a good football player. He has tremendous instincts and a love and a passion for the game. You like playing with a guy like that.”
A big part of the knock on Williams was that he’s only 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds, supposedly not big enough to become a dominating cover corner in the NFL. At this point, though, that’s not what the Broncos are asking of him.
He won the nickel-back spot in training camp, although on draft day, coach Mike Shanahan said the main role Williams would play would be as a punt and kickoff returner.
He took over that job as soon as he arrived and hasn’t given anyone reason to question the decision.
“It’s being able to read the blocking schemes, read what’s coming down the field at you,” Williams said. “You’ve got to be fast. You can’t really be afraid and you just go and try to get upfield really quickly.”
Even with the penalty on the touchdown, Williams was credited with a 37-yard return. He has five returns for 79 yards this season, good for second in the NFL.
“He’s hungry,” linebacker Ian Gold said. “That’s a part of his character. For him to come in here as a rookie? He’s definitely not playing like a rookie.”
As for the shoulda-been big plays ” the rookie out of Oklahoma State figures those will come.
“They still gave us momentum in the game,” he said. “So even though they didn’t count, they gave our team momentum.”
And they have given him a healthy dose of confidence.
“I know that I can go out there and be finishing the things I’m capable of doing,” he said.
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