Cardinals rookie CB Garrett Williams talks early NFL experience, overcoming knee injury
Nov 12, 2023, 6:30 AM
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Arizona Cardinals rookie cornerback Garrett Williams went nearly an entire calendar year without playing a game due to a torn ACL, and he is now getting into the swing of an NFL season three games into his career.
“When you’re not able to play for so long, you just miss it,” Williams told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Friday. “Being able to be out there and play football at the highest level where the stakes are the highest has been a lot of fun. There’s been a lot of ups and downs for me, just gotta keep building on the good things I’ve done and really focus on fixing all the mistakes that I’ve made so far.”
Williams, a 2023 third-round pick, intercepted a pass in his NFL debut on Oct. 22 and quarterbacks are 5-for-11 throwing his direction for 39 yards in 101 snaps (51%).
He said the mental aspect of the game has been a stark difference, and the area he’s looking to sharpen up is his pre-snap process.
“If you know where you’re supposed to be aligned and where your eyes are supposed to be, that allows you to play fast and that allows you to make plays,” Williams said. “So my biggest thing is really just the pre-snap process of seeing formation, getting the call and then processing it and being able to get that out to everybody else.”
Williams called it “heartbreaking” when he suffered the knee injury in his final year playing college ball at Syracuse. He felt like he was getting better as the season progressed. The Orange were 6-1 when he went down against Notre Dame and finished 7-6. The Cardinals corner said that was hard to watch given how tight of the team it was.
He has a current teammate returning from a torn ACL this week in quarterback Kyler Murray and gave some words of advice.
“The biggest thing I would tell him is that it’s okay for your knee to be sore after a game or even sometimes during the game, if you’ve been sitting down for a long time, and just telling him that’s part of the process,” Williams said. “Keep strengthening your knee so that way you just limit the possibility of re-injury, not only your knee but everywhere else because when you get surgery, everywhere else in your body becomes a little bit more open to possibly getting hurt because it’s such a big shift to your body.”
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As far as what Williams has seen in practice from his quarterback, he said Murray is different.
“The way the ball cuts through the air, the accuracy especially on deep balls, it’s next level,” Williams said.
Williams and the Cardinals’ defense will deal with a young and talented Atlanta Falcons offensive arsenal on Sunday.
The game starts at 2:05 p.m. on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app.