Thursday, December 31, 2009

Department of Bad News: Mike Williams


The Redskins placed their twelfth and hopefully final player on injured reserve yesterday, right tackle former 400 pound man Mike Williams tore foot muscles near his toe in the first half of the game fifteen loss versus the Cowboys, Mike was placed on the season ending list at the same time as teammate safety Reed Doughty, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the same game. To take Mike's and Reed's roster spots the team signed a tailback and a cornerback.

In a wide ranging and at times downright baffling April pre draft radio interview on ESPravda 980 with owner Dan Snyder, then shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato and head coach Jim Zorn, the Redskins announced they had signed a player but were unable to announce who the player actually was. We were told it was a right tackle, which would become more germane a month later when the Redskins released ten year Redskin right tackle Jon Jansen.

The right tackle teased in the radio interview turned out to be then still 400 pound Mike Williams, a former 2002 fourth overall pick selected by the Bills out of the University of Texas. Mike made thirteen or more starts his first three seasons in Buffalo, was a part time player his fourth year in Buffalo and was released after the 2005 season. He signed with Jacksonville before the 2006 season but was placed on injured reserve with a back injury in August, before the season had even started.

Mike spent the next two years away from football, he stayed close with his former college teammate and boomerang Redskin left guard Derrick Dockery, a series of personal commitments to healthy living and life events like having children conspired to put Mike on former shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato's radar, the team brought him in for a tryout and signed him to a contract on a hunch.

Mike worked his ass off in camp, literally, losing 68 pounds through the end of July and 111 total through the end of August. Mike suffered a few lingering injuries in camp, which is not surprising what he put his body through to lose the weight while playing football in the Virginia summer, and had problems in pass protection, he made final cuts, if only barely.

He got what he wanted, and that was a chance to play football. When right guard Randy Thomas went down for the season with a torn triceps in game two versus the Rams and left tackle Chris Samuels suffered what would become a season and likely career ending neck stinger in game five at the Panthers, it set off a chain reaction of offensive line shuffling, when it was all said and done Mike Williams had made five starts at right guard and three at right tackle.

Not bad considering Mike missed three games in the middle of the season with a ligament tear in his ankle and will be ineligible for the season finale at San Diego, not bad for a guy that was not penciled in at starter at either position and barely made the team.

Mike's toe injury is not expected to be serious and Mike should make a full recovery, go heal up Mike, you will be back to compete for your job in 2010, with a full season to knock the rust off perhaps you can elevate your game, we need starters and depth players.

Mike Williams: Getty Images from here.




Mike Williams is my favorite to win the starting ORG spot going into the off season. He gets fine movement on his drive blocks. He can muscle and maul. He can pull and trap. He has fine speed for one so large. He needs to improve his conditioning (core strength and balance, in particular) so he won't miss so much time with injuries (Injuries were inevitable, since he lost 100+ lbs so quickly). His technique needs work. It's spotty --his footwork is especially inconsistent, but at RG that's less of an issue. He's huge with long arms that enable him to compensate for his poor technique, inside. With better core strength, his technique will improve, too. I must admit, however, that I couldn't figure out why he was so inconsistent from play to play.