As much stock as we try to put into the third preseason game — and I am guilty as charged — it’s equally well known that the fourth preseason game is a virtual waste of time. From a fan’s perspective, at least.
Sure, there are some depth chart issues to be worked out. Who makes the final 53, etc., etc. Mainly it’s one big exercise in risk avoidance. All those players that mean something to you, keep them as far from the field of play as possible.
Thursday for the Cardinals is no exception, yet with one exception: Ryan Williams.
Technically, I suppose the running back falls in the category of the aforementioned depth chart issues, but we all know there is a little more going on here. Despite his best attempts and legitimate hard work, the former second-round pick has found it virtually impossible to stay on the field. And Thursday’s game against the Broncos could represent his crossroads moment. Which got me thinking, what if he has a big game?
Is it his 12th round knockout punch (Gambo’s metaphor)? The key piece of evidence that wins the case and keeps him on the team?
Is his performance dismissed since it will likely come against those who are in a similar position, fringe NFL players desperate to prove they belong?
Or — and this is my wild card here — can it be used to convince another team to trade for Williams?
It seems unlikely to me that a team would give up anything of value, even a late round pick, for a running back with the history of Williams’. It seems these days as if the running back is looked upon like a brake pad for a car…it’s a part designed to wear out. So why would you trade for one that may already finished?
But I keep thinking that if there is another team or GM out there who liked Williams as much as the Cardinals did a couple of years ago, then perhaps a big performance can convince them that he’s worth the risk.
It seems like a long shot, but then again, everything about Williams seems like a long shot at this point.