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October 12, 2011 @ 11:25 am
Current rating: 4.50 Stars/2 Votes

Williams: "I'm Playing Terrible"

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams had a bad game at San Francisco and admitted on Wednesday that he is "playing terrible" this year after a record-breaking rookie season. Williams has just one touchdown and less than 200 yards receiving through the first five games of the 2011 season.

Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams heard the term "sophomore slump" all offseason. After seeing a young, promising receiver like Michael Clayton not come close to reaching 1,000 yards after a sensational rookie season in 2004, Williams was often questioned about what he was going to do to avoid a similar slump in his second season.

Williams brushed off the notion of a sophomore slump during the summer, believing that learning the flanker and slot receiver positions this offseason would allow offensive coordinator Greg Olson to keep him away from double coverage and allow him to continue to rack up the yards and touchdowns. But after recording 65 catches for 964 yards and a franchise-record 11 touchdowns in 2010, Williams is indeed mired in a sophomore slump this year with just 23 catches for 183 yards and one touchdown through the first five games of the 2011 campaign. He is currently the team's third-leading receiver in terms of catches and yards.

"I have got to step up. I'm playing terrible," Williams said. "From my aspect I am playing terrible. I should be doing a lot more to help my team win. I should be getting in the end zone. That is something I did last year, and that was getting in the end zone. Putting up points for this team. That is something I'm not doing right now so I have to put it together.

"I have to play better. I've got to know they are looking for me. They want me to make big plays. I have to get open. I have to say forget the double teams, forget the frustration and catch the ball and do what I do. That is on me. I'm going to get that together starting (Sunday). Doing it in practice, too. Like Raheem [Morris] said, I have to run faster in practice and run faster in the games."

The former fourth-round pick out of Syracuse had his worst game of his young career at Minnesota in Week 2, catching one pass for minus-4 yards. Last week at San Francisco, Williams had just four catches for 28 yards (7.0-yard avg.) to go along with a fumble and a false start penalty on third down that negated a first down conversion. He is ready to forget the 49ers game and is looking forward to playing the Saints on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

“Who did we play again last Sunday?” Williams said. “We are playing the Saints (this week). I'm looking forward to the Saints. I don’t even know who we played the first five games. The fact is we are 3-2 and we are looking forward to trying to get a win on Sunday.

"The fact is we are 3-2, still a winning record. We have a chance to go out and beat the Saints and beat a team in our division and get back on track. Like they say, stats are for losers. We don't care that we are 28th (league ranking in total offense) if we keep winning games then it doesn't matter."

Bucs flanker Arrelious Benn said the team's wide receivers have been seeing a lot of Cover 2 defense with two high safeties and a combination of zone and man coverage underneath, which is taking away a lot of opportunities for deep and intermediate passes. Williams' longest reception of the season is just 22 yards.

"We've all not been playing to the best of our potential and possibilities," Benn said. "We're going to go out there and it starts today in practice. It started earlier in our walk-through and our details and staying top of our assignments."

Williams did have a touchdown against the Vikings taken away by an illegal motion penalty by Benn in Week 2. Benn said that the receivers need to stop making the mistakes and penalties that are hindering the offense.

"It's the little things, and we're not young anymore. That's not an excuse," Benn said. "This is our second year. We know what to expect. We know the offense and we know what to do."

What is not helping Williams, Benn and the other receivers is the decision-making of Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who has just three touchdowns and six interceptions through the first five games of the season. In 2010, Freeman threw just six interceptions all season and had a career-high 25 touchdown passes.

“We know Josh is going to make the right decisions,” Williams said. “I don’t know a quarterback who has went through a whole season that didn’t throw an interception. It is going to happen. Mistakes are going to happen. We just have to bounce back. Like they say, the quarterback has to have that 'on to the next' mentality.

“We (the receivers) need to do a lot more to help him by getting open by breaking off the routes, going up and getting the ball. Take the ball from corners and do what we were doing last year. Getting back to doing things like that. It is on us, too. It is not all on Josh. We have to do a better job of making him look good."

While he wants to do what he can to contribute to his team's victories, Williams is not concerned by his lack of production from a statistical standpoint.

"We just need to get wins. If we run the ball 100 times I don't care. Let’s get a win," Williams said. "If we get a win it doesn't matter. We don't end up talking about what happened in the past, and what was so bad. When you get the win, it is all over. When you get a loss the mistakes start to be always be because of this and that."

Earlier this week, Williams met with Morris and told him that he would double his efforts to get back to the type of producer he was a year ago as Tampa Bay's primary receiver. He's anxious to prove that point against New Orleans on Sunday.

"This week you will see the old Mike Williams back," Williams said. "Like I told Raheem, I am back now."

– Mark Cook contributed to this report

Last modified on Thursday, 13 October 2011 09:10

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  • avatar

    Hey at least we are #2 in the league in dropped passes, how about not trying to be number 1 this time?
  • avatar

    Good coaching Morris.....run faster at practice and in games? I am filled with confidence. Panzer is correct though, if we can't run the ball the play action won't work and Williams won't get many good opportunities.
  • avatar

    Well the first step in the 12 step program is admitting you have a problem. Mike Williams is 1/12 of the way to recovery. That is one step further than Mike Clayton made. However, I do think Mike Clayton was one of our best downfield blocking receivers of all time. Keyshawn was very good at that as well.
  • avatar

    However, if Blount cannot play it won’t really matter what Williams says he wants to do. I am sure the Saints feel they can stop Graham and Lumpkin with their front seven, so our WR’s will see cover 2 high all day. They have not been able to beat it yet, and that’s when Freeman starts forcing balls into Winslow.
  • avatar

    A couple things Mike, (1) You have to have effort on EVERY play, you're not doing that. (2) You have to run crisps routes with #1 (3) Create separation from the DB's, you're not doing that. See #1 and #2, that goes a long way to #3, (4) Catch the ball. You're not doing this either. Look, you have all the talent in the world, but if you're not going to sell out every play, you won't succeed. Watch Jerry Rice film, crisp routes, effort, can catch. Time for you to put your words into action. We can all see you have been poor this year. Perform, no excuses, no exceptions.
  • avatar

    There's a big difference in the now departed WR Michael Clayton and the struggling WR Mike Williams. After Clayton's rookie season he anointed himself a star and quickly became Mr. GQ. Clayton never looked inward for the reasons his production declined season after season. For # 80 it was always the coach or QB holding him back. Even Mark Dominik got sucked into Clayton's bag of excuses. By Mike Williams' remarks here, he holds himself responsible and vows to work harder. Never heard that from Clayton. He probably still thinks he's a star....or as Key would say, "a flashlight."
  • avatar

    I am waiting for the article from Gregg Olsen, that states, he is regressing as an offensive Coordinator. His play calling is strictly JV and not NFL caliber. Very predictable and unimaginative. Please, bring in Andy Reid when he is thrown out of Philly. Mark Dominick, I hold you fully accountable for not preparing us with a better alternative or insurance policy at running back. I gave you strict orders to sign Darren Sproles, and nobody listened. Mike Williams will be okay, unlike the other famous reciever Mark "stone hands"
  • avatar

    Yeah maybe the Bucs need to start using those illegal pick plays that every other team in the league uses.......
  • avatar

    M williams has never been a get open guy nor was clayton , more of a get in the right position and put the ball in the right area and he will catch it.I think he is more elusive a bit faster and can definately jump higher than clayton.That being saidJay Cutler completed ball after ball under tremendous, i mean career changing pressure(had to be hit 20 times) Mon night to completely covered receivers.Good routes putting the defender in the right area allowsthis along with the right throwing angles. Roll josh out more and run better routes and this will return along with the long ball.Josh needs to take the rushing yards when they are there , the coaches r not worried about u looking to run first and pass second not by a long shot! get Benn the ball he can play! i am afraid ole kw has lost a step , no yac at all.
  • avatar

    How is Mike Williams going to "run faster?" Add nitrous or a turbo? Mike, just shut everybody out. Catch the ball. And run for your life.
  • avatar

    Unfortunately, its not just Williams. With the exception of Parker, those guys have been virtually invisible. Remember Dezmon Briscoe? Is he still on the team? Even Winslow has been largely ineffective. The drops and the mental mistakes are killing the offense. It appears to me that alot of Freeman's problem is that he does not have alot of faith in these recievers right now, nor should he with the way they are playing.
  • avatar

    So far your having a Michael Clayton type of second season, lets hope you turn it around
  • avatar

    lets get some tds mike
  • avatar

    Here's to hoping we see the results against the Saints. That would be a huge, huge win!
  • avatar

    "Just catch the ball"! That will make a big difference. Thanks for admitting what we all have seen not just with you Mike, but Josh and most importantly the OC. I've got to believe that after two series of plays the players have discussed with the OC and DC what they have seen out on the field? I think changes are not made fast enough by the OC and DC. Where the heck is the Head Coach when all this is going on? People, you have to communicate better and everyone has to listen to each other better. Go Bucs! Get Better!
  • avatar

    Like the fact that nobody is pointing fingers, even after a very bad loss. Players all say what they need to do better ... time to show and get it done GO BUCS, GET BETTER !!!
  • avatar

    I agree with your self-assessment Mr. Williams. Only the eloquent Mr. Charles Barkley can really describe how you're playing now - "TURRIBLE". But don't be too hard on yourself, just get better. I've seen you at the top of your game so I know you can do this. Good luck and whisper into the ear of your QB and a few of your WR teammates, they could kick it up a notch too!
  • avatar

    Now he's back...? Nice to hear the lip service but he's supposed to be a professional...so where exactly is he coming back from again and why was he there in the first place??? The season started last month, preseason a month before that, and training camp essentially started at it's normal time too, so where exactly are you coming back from Mr. Williams??
  • avatar

    "This week you will see the old Mike Williams back," Williams said. "Like I told Raheem, I am back now." It's six games too late, but I'll take it. We need him to play like he did last season if not better to be in ball games.
  • avatar

    Considering we've only played 5 games it's only 5 games too late but we'll assume you went through the Florida school system and give you that one. We're still 3-2 so I guess it's really only 2 games too late.
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