In this morning's notebook Mike linked to an ESPN post about why the Atlanta Falcons parted ways with veteran cornerback Brian Williams, who is now a member of the New York Giants.
Here is a little more about Williams and why Atlanta let him go from that ESPN post:
They’re letting young players Dominique Franks and Christopher Owens compete for the right to be the third cornerback behind Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes. That job very easily could have belonged to Williams, and there’s little doubt he would have been the safer choice.
Williams spent the past two seasons with the Falcons and played well as the third corner and even started at times. He came from Jacksonville, where Atlanta coach Mike Smith was an assistant before taking over the Falcons. In short, Williams would have been a comfortable fit for the Falcons.
But that never really was an option. The Falcons decided sometime between the end of last season and the start of the lockout that Williams wasn’t in their plans. The logic was simple. Williams is 32 and has absolutely no upside. You know what you’re getting with Williams. That’s an experienced guy, who isn’t going to make a lot of mistakes, but isn’t going to make many big plays.
I was intrigued reading this, so I reached out to our friends over at SB Nation's Falcons website, The Falcoholic, for some thoughts on Williams. Lead blogger Dave Choate seems to concur with the ESPN viewpoint. He wrote:
They're [the Falcons] basically going with a youth movement at cornerback. Brian Williams still can be an effective cornerback—he was in 2010—but age and injury are a growing concern with him. He's a nice nickel back against the run and is at least average in coverage, so as long as he can stay on the field, he ought to be a valuable player for the Giants.
The Giants, obviously don't care about long-term upside. They care about what the veteran Williams can do for them immediately. Williams is looking forward to what he called an "awesome" opportunity.
"I’ve been a starter in this league my whole career," he said. "I went down with an ACL injury [in 2009]. I kind of battled back from that last year. I would say I’m a very good player in this league. I’ve got the numbers to show. But it’s not about me. I think I can contribute to this team in more than one way."
Giants coach Tom Coughlin told reporters the Giants liked Williams because "we are in need of someone who can learn quick."
Williams is trying to do just that.
"I’m learning as fast as I can," Williams said. "It’s going to take a couple more days. I’m going to need to take the terminology and translate to what I already know. Most defenses are ... the same, so it shouldn’t take too long."
The Giants are banking on that.