Sep 23, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) reaches for a pass in front of Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed (20) and cornerback Cary Williams (29) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
Prior to the 2012 NFL regular season beginning, the Baltimore Ravens reportedly offered cornerback Cary Williams a three-year $15 million contract. Apparently, Williams promptly turned it down, thinking the Ravens would either increase their offer or he could score a bigger deal on the open market in free agency.
After last night's Ravens 31-30 comeback win, Williams might not only be very sorry he didn't take the team up on that offer, he might need to be concerned he has a job in the NFL next year. Williams was repeatedly targeted and burned by the New England Patriots all night long.
The stats line might show that Cary led the Ravens with ten tackles, but it was only because the guy he was covering all night caught the ball in front of him. It's hard to figure out how many passes were caught on him right now, but whenever the Patriots seemed to have a third and long, Williams' guy came through with the reception in front of him over and over again.
Between wide receivers Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker, they caught 17 passes for 250 yards, with a significant number of them when Williams was responsible for guarding them. In defense of Williams, if there is any way to defend him, the Ravens pass rush was almost non-existent as they finished with only two sacks on 45 drop-backs by QB Tom Brady. Brady attempted 41 passes, ran from pressure twice (for 7 yards) and was sacked twice.
After it became painfully obvious to the more than 70,000 fans in attendance that Brady's game-plan was to simply throw to the guy being covered by Williams, the question became why the Ravens continued to put him out there in coverage. At that point, almost anyone else, including the streaker that the stadium security and Baltimore police had a tough time corralling, could do a better job.
For whatever reason,the Ravens stuck with Williams and despite coming out with the win, this has to be a major concern going forward. The team has other cornerbacks on the roster and with Lardarius Webb being a Pro Bowl candidate and Jimmy Smith proving that he was worthy of a first-round pick last year. However, the other defensive backs are unproven and have done nothing to deserve consideration.
There comes a time that a change must be made not because there are better options on the sideline, but because the current option is just not getting the job done. Whether it be from those currently on the roster or a free agent still looking for a team, one thing is being confirmed every week, which is Cary Williams is not the answer for the Ravens.