Arizona Cardinals cornerback Brandon Williams 26

first_imgArizona Cardinals cornerback Brandon Williams (26) breaks up a pass intense for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) TEMPE, Ariz. — The flip side to Marcus Cooper’s rise in last Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the fall of Brandon Williams.At least, that’s how some perceived it to be.After playing every one of the defensive snaps in the season opener against New England, Williams was in for just 34 percent of the plays against Tampa Bay.In the days following the game, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians made sure to say that they thought the rookie out of Texas A&M played well, but with what Cooper was doing, it made no sense to take him out. It’s difficult to imagine Cooper not being the guy, though until it is, Williams still has a chance. And whether he starts or not, the third-round pick sees his current situation as the perfect one for him.“That way I can see how the game is supposed to be played from those guys, because all those guys can play,” he said. “When I get my opportunity I can mimic the older guys and kind of elevate my game, because I’m seeing how it’s done, and it’s being done right.”Injury updateThe official injury report can be seen here, and since Arians was not available to the media Thursday, there is not much else to go off of. The only change from Wednesday is that Jared Veldheer and Larry Fitzgerald each got in a full practice (they were limited Wednesday).Bettcher doesn’t pass the buckMuch has been made of Arians taking responsibility for the team’s Week 1 loss to the Patriots, as he told Sirius XM Radio that he got too involved in the defensive gameplan and called for a lot more zone than the team would normally play.That would seem to vindicate Bettcher, who had come under fire a bit after his team struggled against a patchwork offense, but on Thursday, the defensive coordinator had little interest in giving away some of the blame. “But I don’t think it would change their gameplan significantly. Those guys still want to take their shots with 88 (Marquise Goodwin), try to get the ball to 14 (Watkins) — he’s more of the deep, over guy, stop, comebacks-type of guy. But I don’t think it’s going to change, dramatically, their gameplan at all.” Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Williams said he thought he played fine against the Bucs and is progressing at a good pace, though when asked what part about being an NFL cornerback has been the biggest surprise, he could not pinpoint any single thing.“Technique-wise, adjustments — just everything about the position, period,” he said.Williams, of course, has been playing cornerback for a little more than one year. The idea that he has plenty to learn is not foreign, nor is it all that outlandish. While confident in his abilities, Williams seems to understand that there is plenty he does not yet know, and it’s why he had no problem ceding snaps to Cooper on Sunday.While the newfound depth and competition may rub some players the wrong way, Williams sees it as a positive.“It helps me out a lot because all those guys have been in the league for four-plus years, so it helps me out a lot because I get to learn from all of them, that’s what I like about it,” he said.Both Arians and defensive coordinator James Bettcher have said that while Cooper stepped up last week, Williams could still start for the team against the Bills. The competition is ongoing, Bettcher said Thursday, and whoever plays the best in practice and shows they know the job and responsibilities that are involved in starting will get the nod. Comments   Share   “The first thing is we needed to tackle better in that game; we did not tackle well, we did not leverage well. Our communication wasn’t good enough,” he said. “I stood in front of you guys (the media) and I’ll say it again: That starts with us on the defensive side of the ball, coaches and players, and we have to get that done.“I love Coach’s (Arians’) input. He is one of the smartest men I’ve ever worked around. Not only is he the best head coach in the National Football League, he is a smart, smart football coach and I’m fortunate to work for him and we’re fortunate to be here working for him.”Bettcher went on to say the defense needs to tackle well, leverage the ball and get their eyes right. That is the same for all defenses, he said, and added it has to happen every week.“It starts with us as coaches. Me, as a coordinator, I’ve got to make sure those things are emphasized and those things get done from a week-to-week basis, from a day-to-day basis,” he said. “But you know what? I think our guys are getting better. We’re improving on defense. We still have things that we need to improve, and we’re going to keep grinding and working, and the great thing about it is we’ve got the right character in the room, defensively, from the coaches and players standpoint, to get done what we need to get done.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Struggling Sammy?Last week, Patrick Peterson was readying to face a star in receiver Mike Evans. The same could be said for this week, too, except for the fact that Buffalo’s Sammy Watkins is struggling with a foot injury that has kept him out of practice.Watkins caught 60 passes for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns last season, and if healthy, is a dynamic offensive threat for Peterson to match up with.“Yeah I saw that,” Peterson said of Watkins being hurt.Peterson said if Watkins does not play it will throw a wrinkle in the gameplan, but they’ll have to see what happens come Sunday morning.“I don’t play close attention to the injury reports,” he said. “I just want to go out there and make sure that I prepare myself the best way possible to make sure I’m in the best position possible.”If Watkins plays, the question will be at what level. If he does not play, people will wonder where Buffalo’s passing game turns.“You know, honestly it might not change it as much because, we all see it statistically, he only has six catches for 63 yards,” Peterson said. “So I don’t think it would change much because he’s been hurt pretty much all season — you can tell on film he’s playing on one leg; you can tell that foot is really, really bothering him, and from last year to this year, Tyrod (Taylor) is not really giving him the attention that he was getting last year. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more