09-21-2006, 07:14 AM #1
Lighter, healthier Williams looks back on track for Vikings
Posted on Wed, Sep. 20, 2006
[size=13pt]Lighter, healthier Williams looks back on track for Vikings[/size]
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Kevin Williams had just finished one of his best games in a while, when he was asked in the Minnesota locker room if his old self was back.
"He never went anywhere," Williams said after Sunday's win over Carolina, balking at the suggestion his 2005 season was not up to snuff. "I've been here the whole time."
The statistics told a different story, though, specifically a sack total that dropped from 11 1/2 to four. He played overweight, largely the result of missed conditioning time following recovery from right knee surgery over the winter. He sprained the medial collateral ligament in that knee in a game against Cleveland last November and missed two games because of it.
Well, last week, Williams was creating constant pressure in the backfield and playing the way most people remembered in his first two years - when he totaled 22 sacks, was named to everybody's All-Rookie team in 2003 and earned All-Pro honors in 2004.
"I told him, 'You look like the old Kevin Williams,'" teammate Darrion Scott said. "The coaching staff wanted us to lose weight, and it's obviously showing that he's slimmer and he's faster and he's got his swagger back. ... I really think you can expect to see that for the rest of the season."
Williams, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 311 pounds, has one sack, nine quarterback hurries and is third on the team with 13 tackles, according to the coaching staff's calculations through two games. The NFL does not track official stats in the latter two categories. Last year, Williams had 20 hurries in 14 games.
"He's pretty dominant. I think this last game was really indicative of that," backup tackle Ross Kolodziej said. "He pretty much controlled his 'B' gap and dominated the line of scrimmage."
The spaces on the line, between each blocker, are typically assigned a letter, "A" on either side of the center, "B" between the guard and tackle and so on. Williams plays what's called a vertical three technique, which requires heavy penetration across the line and controlling that "B" gap.
It's one position that hasn't changed in the switch to the Cover 2 defense. Williams had essentially the same responsibility his first three seasons, and that's why Sunday's performance was so familiar.
Linebacker Napoleon Harris took full advantage of the commotion up front, recording a sack and a team-high 12 tackles.
"He's doing a tremendous job. He draws a lot of attention. He's a big guy, but he gets great penetration and he's strong at the point of attack," Harris said. "When guys focus in on him, that allows me to slip past and make some plays."
The Vikings have insisted that Williams was not at full production last year because he wasn't healthy.
"A lot of times you don't really see it, but definitely I think his injury limited him to some bit," Harris said. "Everyone only remembers him for the sacks or the caused fumbles and things like that, but he still played solid."
Certainly, there is a correlation between playing better and feeling better.
"I think that just comes from getting a chance to condition in the offseason that I didn't get to do the year before," Williams said. "The legs are in shape, instead of getting in shape during the season."
"If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"
09-21-2006, 07:19 AM #2
Re: Lighter, healthier Williams looks back on track for Vikings
Good, we definetly need big Kev if we are going to do any damage this season.. It is good to see him putting pressure on the O-line's that he faces..
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