Not enough work for Stephen Williams

Posted by Darren Urban on December 2, 2011 – 9:30 am

Stephen Williams was one of the stars of training camp, 2010. The undrafted Toledo product caught everyone’s eye in Flagstaff and ended up making the roster. He played a little as a rookie too. This year, not so much.

Williams has been healthy all season  but has been active on game day only two times in 11 games. He has no receptions, and now, the Cardinals promoted wide receiver Jaymar Johnson from the practice squad to give the Cards seven receivers available on Sundays. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the dynamic with the receivers hasn’t changed even with Johnson. Whisenhunt added the promotion does not necessarily mean Johnson will be active for any games. He also said Williams was hampered by the lockout.

“(Stephen) didn’t have an offseason, we didn’t have a chance to work with him,” Whisenhunt said. “He does some good things in practice; it’s (lack of) consistency and that’s what you will always face with a young guy until you have a chance to work with him in the offseason.”

Williams doesn’t really play special teams — he’s not going to beat out LaRod Stephens-Howling as a return man, and he doesn’t stand out as a blocker or coverage guy. That means he is working uphill when he would be, at best, a fourth receiver. It’s one of the reasons DeMarco Sampson has stayed ahead of him. He’s not going to be a slot receiver, which is why Chansi Stuckey has played ahead of him.

Williams admitted he is frustrated, but, reading into Whisenhunt’s comments, it’s clear extra work is needed for Williams to take the next step (in-season, that work for guys lower on the depth chart just doesn’t exist as teams prep for games every week). He will be an exclusive rights free agent after the season, and I expect the Cardinals to tender him and bring him back for camp next year. He’ll get his offseason. And next year’s training camp will be a very important one for Williams’ future in Arizona.


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41 Responses to “Not enough work for Stephen Williams”

  1. By NorthenCard on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    I know it might be blasphemous to even mention it, but I’ve been thinking that Desean Jackson might be a nice pick up in the off season should he become available. He might be a head case and seems like he may have taken a step backwards this year but having him as a speed guy opposite Fitz would be just what our passing game needs.

    I think I have read in some articles that Fitz considers him to be a top notch receiver. Maybe Fitz could help guide the young guy along a bit and get him back to his previous pro bowl play. Kolb’s familiarity with him also certainly could be a contributing factor.

    What do you think Darren?

    -NC

  2. By Darren Urban on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    NorthernCard —

    RE: DeSean

    I wrote this on another post:

    “Do me a favor: Go back and listen to some of the Kolb quotes about Fitz in training camp, and how he would say how different Fitz is compared to other receivers he’s played with. I don’t know exactly to whom he was referring, but I’m willing to speculate between the lines.”

    Please read this account of Jackson from the Seattle game: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/20111201_Eagles_Jackson_sets_himself_apart__but_not_in_a_good_way.html

    He’s a talented player. But I would be very, very leery about that guy. For the way Anquan acted off the field when he was ticked off about his contract, he never did anything but play hard on the field. DeSean Jackson can’t say that.

  3. By GW on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    C’MON DARREN YOU ARE TELLING US THA D.JAX CAN’T LEARN HOW TO BE A PRO FROM FITZ. PHILLY GAVE EVERYONE TOP DOLLAR AND TREAT HIM LIKE A STEPCHILD SOUND FAMILIAR LIKE THE CARDS DID WITH ANQUAN NOW YOU DONT HEAR ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT ANQUAN IN BALT.D. JAX HE’S A GOOD KID WHO FEEL UNDERAPPRECIATED THATS ALL. SOMETIME YOU NEED A CHANGE OF SCENERY AND KOLB ONLY PLAYED 7 GAMES AND WHAT DID YOU EXPECT HIM TO SAY.

  4. By Darren Urban on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    GW —

    RE: DeSean, yet again

    You asked my opinion. I gave it. You say I don’t know what’s going on with DeSean, but in the same breath you discount anything Kolb would say.

    I get where you are coming from. I wouldn’t rule anything out. But just like I don’t know, neither do you. Are you saying there is NO WAY Jackson could be a problem?

  5. By GW on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Question to all the cards fans Do you think d.jackson will be a good addition to fitz. as a no# 2 reciever?

  6. By brad oneill on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Deshawn jackson is a an absolutely worthless spoiled child that needs to be taken out to the woodshed and beaten with the thickest rod pappa can find.

    did you watch that game last night, there was one defender in front of mccoy who would have had a touchdown had the blocker gotten any kind of block at all on the defender and jackson decided it would be better to run past him than block him. Go back and watch the long pass play to mccoy. Or if that doesnt convince you how about the randy moss like plays off without the randy moss like production, or how about when the star cornerback goes down and he is over joking with players on other team instead of showing any concern whatsoever for his injured teammate.

    If there is one thing i know about the cardinals its that they don’t take players like this in the offseason. they sometimes take warn out vets with the occasional off field issue but they rarely if ever take players that are completely self centered primadonnas.

    As for mr. williams, he earned his spot on the bench by missing everything thrown his way in preseason. he showed enough last preseason to warrant a hard look, I hope he works this offseason like a guy who knows if he doesn’t improve he will be out of the league because what he left on film doesn’t warrant anyone picking him up despite his abilities and strong practices last year.

  7. By Rugbymuffin on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Potential and production are two very different things.

    It don’t matter how good you are in practice, you need to show it on the field.

    If you cannot beat out Chansi Stuckey (with all due respect to Mr. Stuckey) you might just want to count your blessings you have a job in the NFL at all.

  8. By Peter in Canada on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Darren – Off topic but Donovan McNabb has been released. Where do you see him more likely to play next year? The Cardinals, Hamilton Tiger Cats or Toronto Argonauts.

  9. By gw on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    HEY any player can be a problem because everyone can’t be choir boys all im saying is that if you have leaders on your team who can mentor young players and teach them how to be a pro.like fizt,dockett and a-dub(like what he’s doing with pp)just to name a few why not take a chance
    to get a pro bowl wr.that’s the difference between the cards and let’s say the patriots.

  10. By CJ on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    If there is one thing that i have liked about Cards management is that no matter how good you are its all for the team, not for yourself. That is why i would be glad if the Cards never made an offer to Desean Jackson, that kid doesn’t care about his team he only cares about himself, hes just another T.O.

  11. By CJ on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    @GW

    I wouldnt want Desean anywhere near my team

  12. By Gilbert on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren don’t get discourage some of these fans really go off the wall. Think we hav a chance at those cowboys?

  13. By Darren Urban on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Gilbert —

    RE: Sunday v Cowboys

    Yes. I am not surprised the Cowboys are favored but would I be surprised if the Cards won? No.

  14. By CreditCard on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    I would guess an NFL team would like to have different types of receivers in order to present potential mismatches during a game. My opinion, Stephen Williams skills are similar to that of Larry Fitzgerald, but on a more tone-down scale. Since Fitzgerald is literally in a class of his own, I would think it would be difficult for Williams to find playing time. Williams appears to have some good skills — but not currently fitting in the Cards plans; he could bring potential trade bait, and find playing time with another team.

  15. By Kurt on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Darren:

    Do the players ever comment about we fans ramble on about?

  16. By Darren Urban on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Kurt —

    RE: Players on fans

    Never specifically. Usually we are told they don’t pay attention to “that stuff.”

  17. By NorthenCard on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Well, I did preface my post with “I know it might be blasphemous to even mention it.” I know the guy is a bit of a head case, but maybe its just a factor of his youth. I’m not saying we should back up the money truck to his house and unload it, but if Fitz is willing and able to mentor him and he could return to his previous pro bowl play, think about how crazy that tandem would be.

    I know, DeSean is a nut case and will want more money than Peyton to come here, but I just don’t see how we can fully utilize Fitz without a decent threat opposite him. Let’s face it, the passing offense is suffering at least in part (and I know there are obviously some other huge issues behind center these last few years) due to the fact that our current receivers behind Fitz are average at best and really haven’t turned out like we had wanted.

    If not DeSean, we need to find someone to open up Fitz a little. We need someone that defenses will respect. Maybe one of the guys on the roster will emerge these last few games, but I really haven’t seen anything consistently this season or last to make me think we currently have the answer.

    -NC

  18. By D on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    With all of these WR’s and none really a burner, hard to see Doucet coming back next year

  19. By Jzoully on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,

    Hear me out, I love D-Jax but I don’t see why he would want to remaine in Philly, so why not give him a home. And the benefil of free agents why not capatilize on signing Dwight Freeny who is also unhappy in Indi. D-Jax is not just a great athlete but a tremendous playmaker who could help the cardinals with that “one” last piece we need to make it to the playoffs. If not him what about V-Jax cuz I love him. Watcha think Darren?

  20. By Darren Urban on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Jzoully —

    RE: Receivers

    Just depends. I think I’d look at all those guys. But I’d want to know what it would cost, and in the case of wideouts, are they willing to be second fiddle to Fitz?

  21. By TucsonTim on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Not the “off season” BS again. If it’s really true that the Arizona Cardinals need an off season to learn “the system that works”. Then there is a real problem with “the system”.

  22. By cooldaddy79 on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Jackson would be a awsome fit in AZ…FITZ With the speed of jackson WOW>!

  23. By cooldaddy79 on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    That would throw defenses off big time.Just need a Consistant QB then AZ will BE contenders!

  24. By Austin on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Peter in Canada,
    At this point I think the best spot for McNabb is in the lingerie league.
    As for Jackson, the last thing a struggling team looking for an identity needs is a potential troublemaker in the lockerroom, Im not saying he would be trouble, maybe he won’t but we can’t afford to take that chance.

  25. By Mr. Know It All on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Stephen Williams needs to hit the weights so does AJ Jefferson you got to be strong to stay in this league!!!!!!!!

  26. By Buck on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    GW
    How do you know Jackson is ” a good kid “?

  27. By Jzoully on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    absolutely,

    But I believe that there are receivers that are cheaper then others such as the aging battlehard veteran Reggie Wayne. And the undervalued Mario Manningham. Still the fact that Vincent Jackson has been franchised twice I would think he wants out of San Diego. Out of all the pricetags of wide receiver, who is worth it? My question Darren is which one of those receivers would fit the smash-and-pass offense we are trying to build here? PS Beanie is the new Smash and quite honestly it could be Smash-and-Dash with Ryan Williams. Trademark.

  28. By Peter in Canada on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Austin –

    McNabb’s wife is from Hamilton and there was talk up here that maybe he could be a gate attraction in the CFL because they have no big names at QB ( not even washed up ones). I was just trying to get a rise out of Darren with my post. Anyway a radio guy up here asked Joe Theismann if McNabb might play in the CFL but Joe said McNabb’s passing accuracy is so bad right now he doubted it. So it would appear that although your post was sarcastic? you may have inadvertently hit upon the real truth. lol.

  29. By C on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    If you intend on having Jackson come to AZ you’d need to assure that by signing the contract he changed his name from DeSean to DeCoy. Kolb can’t find the #2 WR to save his life.

    I keed, I keed.

  30. By nodavis2000 on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    HEY Darren,

    I have a quick off the topic question. What’s the rule about the Franchise Tag??? Can a team/organization just slap it on a player year after year after year???

    As for DJax coming to the Cards, I’m hesitant about bringing him here. He does seem to be throwing a tantrum from not getting a contract. He might be just doing this whole act so he’s not franchised tagged. He’s be an awesome number 2, next to Fitz. But, would he be willing to not be the number one??? I don’t know about that.

    Also, he’s the Eagles Punt Returner. And I’m sorry, I don’t want ANYONE back there besides PP. DeSean might make drama or contention in the locker room if he’s not given that specific role.

    There’s just too much IF’s too really make me sold on DJax coming here to play.

  31. By Darren Urban on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    nodavis —

    RE: Franchise tag

    The money goes up every year for three years so that, for instance, even a defensive end tagged in a third year is getting whatever the highest tag salary there is. But technically, a team could tag the same player every year if they wanted.

  32. By wayne on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,
    Just an opinion but if the Cardinals didnt bring in T Owens they will not bring in Jackson and I am fine with that, on that note I do think he is way under paid, he is a game changer but he has made some really stupid decisions.

    Wayne

  33. By Shaun Church on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    It looks like the off-season is going to be the most important time in Williams’ life; It can possibly make or break his entire NFL career. I am hoping for the best from him, as the Cards could really benefit from his size in the red zone. He can be a Plaxico Burress-type receiver … but we’ve had that discussion before. Thank you for looking into his situation, it means a lot to us fans who are curious but don’t have the means to find out for ourselves.

  34. By dre 1368 on Dec 3, 2011 | Reply

    willame is to big for a slot he is a number 2 the kid is 6’5 he needs to grab fitz and tell him to mold him in to better rec. as for d jax why not a 2 year deal with a option and right down on the contrack any problems on field voided. we need speed on this team bad. with ryan coming back watch out or even b edwards he signed a 1 year deal didn t look good this year sign him on the cheap.

  35. By cowboyssuck on Dec 3, 2011 | Reply

    gw, go take a cold shower…geez its embarrassing to see a dude swoon so much over his chosen man crush. desean jackson would not be worth the price.

  36. By Scott H on Dec 3, 2011 | Reply

    GW –

    What exactly is Jackson going to do for us that we have to put so much effort into re-habbing the guy??? If Jackson does ANYTHING really well, it’s return punts. Well, in case ya haven’t noticed, we have that area covered by Patrick Peterson. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He has returned as many punts for TD’s during a season which STILL HAS FIVE GAMES TO GO as Jackson has in his whole career.

    Jacskon weighs all of about 165 pounds ( MAYBE ) soaking wet. Therefore, he’s not a slot guy or a guy you can send over the middle. That’s NOT his game and never will be. His physical stature also doesn’t lend itself to blocking for others NOR does his persoanlity lend itself to that.

    He’s basically a Randy Moss only NOWHERE near as talented. He is very fast, therefore, a good deep threat guy. And, like Randy Moss, he is a diva and very inmature. He does not work hard, he does not focus during games, and he’s just plain more about showing off than trying to be a good player and teammate. He’s a head case.

    WHY does Fitz need to become a mentor for this guy??? Just one person’e opionin, but I want no part of him. He is a leopard who is not gonna change his spots. Let him be a problem somewhere else. There is a reason why the Eagles did not re-do his contract before this season and it appears they knew what they were doing.

    Ya know…if we had kept Breaston of landed Brandon Lloyd, are we even talking about knuckleheads like Desean Jackson???

  37. By brad oneill on Dec 3, 2011 | Reply

    darren you should lie to us and tell us the players do care what we post about, it makes us feel special.

  38. By sunday on Dec 3, 2011 | Reply

    Some cards fan are too focused on players character than skills.This is not state senate its football .I don’t care if the guy is nice or not as long as can help this team win. As bad we need wins here I will leave character is for politicians and not too much on athletes unless is a special case.

  39. By Darren Urban on Dec 3, 2011 | Reply

    Sunday –

    RE: “character”

    Sounds good – until that guy becomes, for instance, a cancer in the locker room. These things don’t happen in a vacuum. Players are human; teams can be hurt from the inside.

  40. By joe67 on Dec 5, 2011 | Reply

    This team seems to have some really good chemistry and gets along really well (at least it appears that way from the outside) and the last thing we need is some player pouting and causing problems. Maybe he isn’t , but costs way too much to find out.

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