This is actually an interesting number in Giants' history, to me anyway. No 'great' player has ever worn it for the Giants. A few 'good' ones have, though.
- The current occupant is Corey Webster, and we know all about him. Had that huge game-altering interception of Brett Favre in the 2007 NFC Championship Game. Was fabulous during the 2008 season. But, both before and after those two tremendous accomplishments, C-Web has been mediocre to disappointing. Yes, if you are being honest mediocre to disappointing is the right appraisal. The reality is, he has six regular-season interceptions in a five-year career. That's not good enough. Webster might someday vie for best Giant to wear the number, but he has to put together a few more seasons like 2008 first.
- Ernie Koy was -- mostly -- a running back on some bad Giants teams from 1965-70. Showcasing the difference in the NFL from then to now, Koy also punted some (it was his primary job in 1965) and played some flanker. Koy made the Pro Bowl in 1967 when he ran for a career-high 704 yards, caught 32 passes and punted 40 times for a 37.7-yard average.
- Omar Stoutmire was a journeyman safety who spent five of his nine NFL seasons (2000-2004) playing for the Giants. He started for two of those five seasons.
Williams, though, is the best of the bunch who has worn No. 23.
He was a starter in the Giants secondary for most of his 10 seasons, nine at right corner and one at strong safety, 1984-93. Williams was never a great player, and probably lacked elite speed if memory serves, but he was good enough to stick around for a decade and be a key part of the dominant Super Bowl-winning defense of 1986.
Williams, in fact, is probably symbolic of many of the corners who have played for the Giants since the Bill Parcells era. Not a 'shut down' corner, but a guy who could do his job, make tackles when he had to, support the run and prevent big plays.
A guy who, at times, was probably dependent on the Giants' fearsome pass rush with Lawrence Taylor, Leonard Marshall and others to keep him from consistently being exposed in coverage. If the Giants could rush the passer, Williams could be an effective player.
Pay attention, and you realize the Giants still -- for the most part -- build their defenses that way today.
AN ODD NOTE: I swear I did not plan it this way, and did not realize it until I scheduled this to run today, but we have arrived at the No. 23 on my daughter's 23rd birthday. Happy birthday, Lauren!