Before I begin, I just want to put out that this is merely an opinion piece. I have absolutely ZERO knowledge as to what occurs in the locker room, or how Ryan Williams truly feels. It is merely my own thoughts and what I have seen and pieced together in my own brain... I have one? NICE.
Ryan Williams fall from grace was fast... After being labeled by many Cardinal fans as the steal of the 2011 draft, he was injured in only the second game of his career. The Preseason match up between the Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers.
He would return in 2012, and make his first regular season debut against the Seattle Seahawks in Week One, and play below par. We of course, attributed it to his need to adjust to a real NFL game. However, his struggles continued, and would ultimately be called upon to fill in for Beanie Wells in the fifth game of the season. That game would become the Cardinals first loss of the season, and spell doom for a 2012 campaign that was incredibly promising.
It was in this game, that Williams would suffer his second season ending injury, in only his second season. However, it felt like he would get on last shot in Arizona if Ken Whisenhunt remained the coach. This was not the case, as "The Whiz" was fired in early January, and Bruce Arians was brought in to replace him.
Arians was high on him to start OTA's, and he appeared as if he was ready to roll for the first time in his career, but a knee injury early in Training Camp kept him out until the final week of camp.
Williams was on the cusp... Instead of being on the cusp of becoming the starter, he was on the cusp of being released. He survived the final rounds of cuts, and you would think he'd be active... Turns out not.
Bruce Arians and the rest of the Cardinals management have attributed his being inactive on game days to his lack of special teams play... This is where my opinions start...
You are taught in High School football that if you want to see the field, you contribute.. Right? That's how I was taught and that's how I look at it in the NFL.
There is no denying that Williams could be one of the most dangerous weapons Arizona could field on Sundays (or Mondays/Thursdays). Williams has that speed to break off a big run on any given play, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he can make the big plays when they matter.
It just befuddles me as to how a guy with his talent, cannot play special teams. He may not have elite speed, but his speed is more than enough to be able to get down field his 4.59, 40 time (which is a rubbish measurement in my opinion) was 24th out of 38 total running backs in the 2011 combine. A 4.59 is an average time, and of course he has suffered multiple knee injuries, but after watching him in his lone preseason appearance, and by eyewitness tweets (Jess&Shaun), it appears that his speed is still there, and can make those cuts.
Now... I know Bruce Arians would have already tried Williams at Special Teams, but a professional NFL player who is living his dream, should fight for a chance to play... Not wait for something to happen to the guys in front of him.
"Goals are not attained by strength, but by perseverance"- Felicity Luckey
Williams has this year, and next left on his contract, but next year he earns approximately one million dollars, which is a 300k jump from this years money. With Mendenhall being on a one year deal, and his inconsistency running the ball, Williams could potentially get another shot... But it is a slim one, at least right now.
I have always been a supporter of Williams, and I do believe if he ever gets his chance, injury or no, he will run away with it. Whether it's on our roster or another teams.