Three Eagles on the current roster have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. Two of them – safeties
Now entering his sixth season in the NFL and second with the Eagles, Williams knows what it takes for a locker room to come together to accomplish the ultimate goal, and he believes that the Eagles are moving in the right direction.
“I think that closeness was there (in Baltimore) and I think there is a closeness that is being developed here as well,” Williams said. “I think just being away and spending time apart from our guys really helped me to understand how much I missed those guys and how much I appreciate the hard work that they put in each and every week with me, and it’s just about that camaraderie. You miss those guys after a while.
“It’s great getting home with the family and spending quality time with those guys, but coming back to a game that you love with people that are going to be willing to sacrifice each and every day as much as you’re going to be able to sacrifice, it’s a great thing. I think that everybody in the locker room right now is looking forward to the season and looking forward to what we can accomplish this season.”
Williams wasn’t the only Eagle getting his first taste of Philadelphia in 2013. Chip Kelly was also one of the new guys in town, but it didn’t take long for the Eagles head coach to win over the locker room. The players quickly bought in to the brand new system, and as a result, a roster riddled with new players was able to click right away. According to Williams, that chemistry has rolled over into 2014, and the Eagles are ready to get back to work.
“It’s still fun (in the locker room) and we still have guys that are getting after it each and every day, trying to achieve a goal and accomplish something, that’s win the Super Bowl, and it starts right here in OTAs and workouts, and everybody is excited about it and we’re ready to go.
“We understand what is at stake here. We understand what is expected of us, and Chip (Kelly) made it out plain and simple, and it’s up to us to go out and execute that each and every day. We’re just preparing for the season and taking it one day at a time.”
Williams had a solid season with the Eagles in his first year in Philadelphia. He started every game at the cornerback position and intercepted three passes. He made a name for himself as an Eagle right out of the gate, making a diving interception against Washington in Week 1. However, Williams knows that he can improve heading into his sophomore season in the Eagles secondary.
“I think (I’ll be able to) just go out there and be comfortable with what I’m supposed to do and (I just know) what is expected of me,” said Williams.”(I understand) what Coach (Bill) Davis wants of me, and I can be more aggressive now that I’ve spent more time in the playbook and a lot more time in the defense. I’ve got more reps under my belt, and I think it’s great to go out there and just communicate with the guys that I know and develop relationships with guys that I don’t, so that we can go out and just be successful as a unit.”
One of those players whom Williams didn’t know up until very recently is the newly acquired Jenkins, who played for New Orleans during his first five professional seasons. Jenkins finds himself in a similar situation to where Williams was a year ago - a former Super Bowl champion looking to adapt to his new surroundings in midnight green. Though the two haven’t been able to hit the practice field yet together, they’re developing a chemistry that Williams believes will lead to success.
“It’s cool to pick Malcolm’s brain, because he’s a guy that has won a Super Bowl,” said Williams. “He’s experienced it and he’s a guy who is just willing to learn as much as he can through the short time that we’ve had in meetings already.
“It’s just exciting to get new faces out there. These are guys that are willing to sacrifice with you, so I think that it’s a great opportunity for all of us and we’re all looking forward to the season.”
Jenkins is among the new crop of defensive players that the Eagles have brought in to help a defensive unit that finished 32nd in passing yards allowed per game at 289.8. Though the Eagles ended up winning 10 games in the regular season and captured the NFC East title, the pass defense was a work in progress all season long.
As the Eagles enter their second year under defensive coordinator Bill Davis, Williams expects the playbook to open up a bit, and that as the players’ familiarity with the system increases, so too will the level of aggressiveness, and that gives the Eagles defense a lot to look forward to in 2014.
“I think we have guys coming off of last season who know what is expected of us,” said Williams. “We’re a little bit more comfortable in the defense, and I think that we’ll improve shortly. I think we just needed some guys to get a feel for the defense and get a feel for how things are supposed to be played in the NFL. Now that we know that, I think we’ll be much improved.
“I think the coaches have definitely implemented some different strategies this year. We’ve been going over some things and we look forward to those things being vital to our success. I think Coach (Davis) is going to be a lot more aggressive than he was last year, and that’s a great thing. We have the talent in the room to prove it, to do it, and to execute it and it’s up to us to go out and get it done.”