A couple of days ago, the readers of Buffalo Rumblings put the finishing touches on a Buffalo Bills needs list that the team needs to tackle starting a little less than a month from now. As you may recall, defensive tackle ranked with top priority on said needs list; naturally, as we transition into free agent bios, we will start at defensive tackle.
Packers DT Corey Williams is the elite DT name on the market this off-season, considering the fact that the Titans' Albert Haynesworth is almost certainly going to be slapped with the franchise tag. Williams played on one of the more talented defensive lines in the league last year and played so well that he earned a starting job by season's end. The 27-year-old is set to turn a 7-sack, break-out 2007 campaign into a big pay day this off-season.
Acme Packing Company's Take
I shot a few questions about Williams to Brandon, head blogger at SB Nation's Packers blog, Acme Packing Company, and he was very kind in providing us with a little first-hand insight into Williams' career as a Packer. He also provided his thoughts on Williams' free agency in a post last week. Here are his thoughts on Williams:
What would you say is more of a strength for Williams - defending the run or rushing the passer?
He's good at both. Like most defensive linemen, you don't notice him on every play, but a couple of times a game he'll shed his blocker and make a nice stop on a running play in the backfield or get some pressure on the QB. He's over 300 lbs. so he holds up well inside, with some pass rushing skills as a bonus.
With the Packers having so much interior depth along the line, what are the chances that Williams is re-signed by the Pack?
I can't see the team keeping him. He didn't get consistent playing time until DT Johnny Jolly got hurt mid-season. Jolly was a 6th round pick in 2006 that barely played in his rookie season, but grabbed the starting job in training camp and didn't let go until he got hurt. Unless GM Ted Thompson is thinking Williams has moved ahead of Jolly - and 2007 1st round pick DT Justin Harrell - he won't give him starter's money in a free agent year that is weak at defensive tackle. Plus, DT Daniel Muir, who had a great 2007 training camp but couldn't get any playing time last season, is a similar player to Williams and would provide depth.
How big was Williams' role in Green Bay's line rotation last year? How important was he to Green Bay's success defensively?
He wasn't essential, but he he was in the rotation all season long, started down the stretch, and the defensive line was one of the team's strengths. Once he got more playing time, the run defense improved while the pass defense started to struggle. That likely didn't have too much to do with Williams because the Packers played against four inferior offenses (Oakland, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit) down the stretch. The pass defense struggled because the ends weren't generating much pass rush, at the same time CB Charles Woodson got hurt, while Williams was still able to generate some pressure on the QB. Williams also made some plays and had a sack or two during the two playoff games.
I'd like to thank Brandon once again for taking the time this early in the off-season to answer some questions about a player he may not be cheering for in the near future.
What I liked hearing from this interview was that even while the Packers' pass defense was struggling a bit, Williams was still playing par for the course during that stretch. Too many times, poor play from Buffalo's front four is the cause of our pass defense woes; we could really use a player that plays well no matter what's going on around him.
I'm also intrigued by the fact, obviously, that the Packers' run D improved when he was in the lineup. That's exactly what the Bills need from a free agent tackle; we have some pass-rushing options inside, but our run defense up the middle is weak. From the sounds of it, Williams is a player who would help out Buffalo immensely against the run, and also could be used on pass downs as well. He sounds like the perfect most-downs tackle that the Bills need - his presence would allow the Bills to rotate in John McCargo (run/pass like Williams), Larry Tripplett (pass) and Kyle Williams (run) with ease.
I'd love to hear your thoughts not only on Williams and his impending free agency, but how you'd like to see this bios/interviews structured as we move forward. Have at it, folks.