Will the third time be the charm for Ryan Williams?
The Red Birds selected Williams in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft (38th overall pick) from Virginia Tech but he did not even make it to regular season competition. On his first professional carry in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Williams ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee and missed the entire 2011 campaign.
The Cold Spring, NY native worked diligently to repair the knee and finally made his regular season NFL debut in 2012 against the Seattle Seahawks in Arizona's season opener. He gained just nine yards on eight carries and added two receptions for 17 yards. He did have a costly fumble though. Even though his debut was a poor one, at least Williams was finally back on the football field.
That didn't last very long.
In Game Five last season at St. Louis, Williams fractured his shoulder and was lost again for the rest of the season. He finished last year with just 164 rushing yards on 58 carries (2.8 avg). He chipped in with seven receptions for 44 yards but had two costly lost fumbles along the way. He did not score any touchdowns.
So it's been a very tough start to his NFL career, no doubt. However, Williams is working diligently again to bounce back. He told Darren Urban of azcardinals.com that he is taking advantage of another opportunity. It could be his last.
“Most people get one chance,” Williams told Urban. “This is my third chance. I don’t know how my stars are aligned to get three chances. But I finally know who I’m supposed to be.”
New head coach Bruce Arians, who also played at Virginia Tech, believes in his young running back.
“I know Ryan can flat run the football — I’m a Hokie,” Arians told Urban. “I know all about Ryan, and I love him.”
Williams is hoping that Arians will employ a zone blocking scheme that he has used in the past and seems to suit Williams' skills the best.
“I have to show him (Arians)," Williams explained to Urban." I have to prove to him that he’d be happy to say those words.”
This could be the final opportunity Williams has to prove himself. He'll be able to participate in minicamp for the first time in his career and is looking forward to showing the Cardinals how dynamic a running back he can truly be.
Maybe a third chance will indeed be the charm for him this time.
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