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View Full Version : For So Cal; A DJ Williams article.


baja
10-23-2010, 08:04 AM
From the Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_16411480



You won't hear D.J. Williams hosting a show on the radio or see him on television commercials. You won't see his face on billboards, shilling for any shoe company.

Even if you were to see him around Denver, there's a good chance you wouldn't recognize him.

"I've been out with Champ (Bailey) and some friends, and people think I'm security," Williams said. "It's weird."

How is it that a player who has started as many games for the Broncos as anyone over the last seven years his 92 starts tie Bailey for the most since 2004 could still be the most anonymous?

Well, it's exactly the way Williams likes it.

"When I go out, if I'm out at a restaurant or out having fun, I just kind of want


to blend in," Williams said.
Yet Williams is hardly hidden on the field this season. With chaos elsewhere with injuries to Elvis Dumervil in training camp and starters Brian Dawkins, Robert Ayers and Andre Goodman during the season perhaps no player has been as important to the Broncos' defense as Williams. He leads the team with 56 total tackles, including 41 solo, and has a team-high 2 1/2 sacks.

When the Broncos are in their base 3-4 scheme, Williams is at the inside weakside position called the Jack linebacker spot. From there, he is the primary tackler in the run defense. He'll also blitz at times or drop back in pass coverage, sometimes singled-up against the opposing tight end or against a running back who might be on a pass pattern.

"He's one of my favorite players that I think I've ever been around. He's at times very quiet, but I don't know that anybody has any more respect than D.J. does," coach Josh McDaniels said. "I think he's one of the best linebackers in pro football. That's how I feel about him because he makes such a huge impact in every phase of the game. . . . He's a well- rounded player and really looks like he's playing in the prime of his career."

Broncos defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale, who was the team's linebackers coach in 2009, said Williams is playing at a Pro Bowl level. Williams said it is his relationship with Martindale that is makes that possible.

Martindale is the fifth coordinator Williams has played for since the team drafted him at No. 17 overall in 2004.

In that time, Williams was moved from the weak side to the strong side to the middle and back out again in the 4-3 defensive scheme under former coach Mike Shanahan. Then, Williams was among the Broncos' biggest linebackers, at 242 pounds.

Now, in his second year in the 3-4 scheme, he's the smallest starting linebacker. More important, Williams said, is that he's able to play smarter because, for once, his role has remained consistent.

"I finally have a D-coordinator who knows how to use me," Williams said. "A lot of times I wasn't the focal part of the defense. I was a good player out there making plays, but I feel like Wink puts me in position and makes certain calls that are planned for me to make the play. I like that because I'm confident in myself. If anything, I'd like it to be left up to me to make the play. Not putting anyone else down, but I just have confidence in myself in making the play."

And his teammates have confidence in Williams.

Bailey, the only player who has been with the Broncos longer than Williams albeit only by a matter of months said players respect Williams' voice in the locker room because of the way he carries himself on the field. When Williams arrived in 2004, he was the kid playing alongside Al Wilson. Now, Bailey said Williams is the leader instead of a follower.

"He doesn't always talk, but he talks when necessary. He speaks up, and you can tell it means a lot to him just based on how he talks and when he talks," Bailey said. "We need somebody like that, especially someone who sits right in the middle of your defense. He's the guy that we listen to in the huddle. His voice is important."



Who is D.J. Williams?

He's one of the longest-tenured Broncos, yet he remains one of the team's most anonymous players, by his own design. "I'm just a football player," Williams said. "All the extra stuff, I try to stay away from. It sounds bad. I just signed up to play football."

Position: Inside linebacker

Broncos career: No. 17 overall pick in 2004 draft; played in 97 games, with 92 starts tied with Champ Bailey for the most since 2004.

Career stats: 494 solo (657 total) tackles, 12 1/2 sacks, two interceptions, 10 forced fumbles

Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.

Offseason home: Miami

College: University of Miami

Did you know? Williams' mother, Sherri Gonzalez, runs a number of charity events in the Denver area in her son's name, including providing Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and running a youth football camp. "I'm the silent partner," Williams said. "It's just not publicized because I'm not doing it for the attention."

baja
10-23-2010, 08:09 AM
DJ - I finally have a D-coordinator who knows how to use me," Williams said. "A lot of times I wasn't the focal part of the defense. I was a good player out there making plays, but I feel like Wink puts me in position and makes certain calls that are planned for me to make the play. I like that because I'm confident in myself. If anything, I'd like it to be left up to me to make the play. Not putting anyone else down, but I just have confidence in myself in making the play."

.

Mediator12
10-23-2010, 08:32 AM
DJ - I finally have a D-coordinator who knows how to use me," Williams said. "A lot of times I wasn't the focal part of the defense. I was a good player out there making plays, but I feel like Wink puts me in position and makes certain calls that are planned for me to make the play. I like that because I'm confident in myself. If anything, I'd like it to be left up to me to make the play. Not putting anyone else down, but I just have confidence in myself in making the play."

Well, yes Martindale is using you correctly this year DJ. Doom is out, Ayers is injured, and the rest of the LB's are role players. I HOPE he is funneling plays to you.

As far as the previous guys using you correctly, well whatever. I was there when you were demoted in TC for blowing nickle coverages. Socal and I saw it firsthand. It is not like they did not give you opportunities, you just blew them mentally.

As I said before, you have finally grown up mentally enough to be a high quality starter in this league. Let's see you make the jump to playmaker.

Tombstone RJ
10-23-2010, 08:48 AM
DJ deserves a lot of respect. Shanny drafted him so kudos to Shanny (Shanny did score in the draft on some very good LBers like Wilson and Williams) for bringing him in. Everyone was very excited when the Broncos drafted him because of his athletic skill set and upside. Unfortunately, Williams potential was somewhat squandered by Shanny's inability to build a stable defense where he could flourish.

I'm hoping McD gives Williams an opportunity to excel in the playoffs...

steeledude
10-23-2010, 09:34 AM
Great, great article. DJ is my favorite Bronco hands down. Never gets respect. He is like Simon Fletcher in that regard who was THE most underrated player in football during his time. Now so is DJ. People blast him, ignore him, get mad at him for tackling guys because it was up the field too far (when the plays weren't his to cover, he was just compensating for the mess ups of his fellow linebackers.) More commonly than the rest of that crap, he is invisible and ignored.

What really stands out to me?

"He's one of my favorite players that I think I've ever been around. He's at times very quiet, but I don't know that anybody has any more respect than D.J. does," coach Josh McDaniels said. "I think he's one of the best linebackers in pro football. That's how I feel about him because he makes such a huge impact in every phase of the game. . . . He's a well- rounded player and really looks like he's playing in the prime of his career."

This is the first time I think I've felt McD has a bulb burning between those ears. And it's such a definitive wise statement it blows my mind. It's not like he said "Bailey's great!" He observes something about one of those most quiet, intense players we have. It'd be easy to look at DJ's record (being moved around his whole career, not being a vocal leader like Wilson) and think he wasn't worth it. But to see his talent, his ability to really play, and center your front seven on him? Brilliant. Dumerivil is amazing, but fairly one dimensional. Not the guy you build around. Ayers is seeming to come into his own, but has his issues. DJ is the one you build around.

I spent years defending Williams on the other big Broncos message board while dealing with morons like Alastor and a bunch of others who said he sucked. I'm glad to see people finally understand. This is a guy who sacrificed big stats and a huge name all in the sake of his team. He moved where they told him, and when he didn't like it, he never complained. He did the best he could.

Mediator12
10-23-2010, 09:45 AM
Great, great article. DJ is my favorite Bronco hands down. Never gets respect. He is like Simon Fletcher in that regard who was THE most underrated player in football during his time. Now so is DJ. People blast him, ignore him, get mad at him for tackling guys because it was up the field too far (when the plays weren't his to cover, he was just compensating for the mess ups of his fellow linebackers.)

What really stands out to me?

"He's one of my favorite players that I think I've ever been around. He's at times very quiet, but I don't know that anybody has any more respect than D.J. does," coach Josh McDaniels said. "I think he's one of the best linebackers in pro football. That's how I feel about him because he makes such a huge impact in every phase of the game. . . . He's a well- rounded player and really looks like he's playing in the prime of his career."

This is the first time I think I've felt McD has a bulb burning between those ears. And it's such a definitive wise statement it blows my mind. It's not like he said "Bailey's great!" He observes something about one of those most quiet, intense players we have. It'd be easy to look at DJ's record (being moved around his whole career, not being a vocal leader like Wilson) and think he wasn't worth it. But to see his talent, his ability to really play, and center your front seven on him? Brilliant. Dumerivil is amazing, but fairly one dimensional. Not the guy you build around. Ayers is seeming to come into his own, but has his issues. DJ is the one you build around.

1. Respect is earned, and he has earned my respect. I can not speak for anyone else, but I am very glad that DJ has become the player he is today.

2. No one can say for sure why DJ made plays so far down the field in the run game. I have seen enough of them to say that what you are saying is at least partially true, but I have also seen enough to say that he made them for many other reasons as well. That is more like broad generalization.

3. I hope sincerely that DJ can handle being built around as a LB. It will give him the opportunity to be the playmaker he was built to be. Now, he just has to go do it and do it better than he has in the past. I believe he is finally ready and certainly looks willing from these quotes. I really hope he flourishes and becomes the All-pro LB he wants to be.

Popps
10-23-2010, 09:48 AM
Williams has all kinds of physical gifts. He's also got limitations. He's certainly not built to be an inside linebacker, in my opinion. But, he's playing better this season and clearly, we need his experience out there, at this stage.

DJ is a player that will make me cheer and cringe in the same game. But overall, he's a net-positive out there thus far this season.

TheReverend
10-23-2010, 12:00 PM
Well, yes Martindale is using you correctly this year DJ. Doom is out, Ayers is injured, and the rest of the LB's are role players. I HOPE he is funneling plays to you.

As far as the previous guys using you correctly, well whatever. I was there when you were demoted in TC for blowing nickle coverages. Socal and I saw it firsthand. It is not like they did not give you opportunities, you just blew them mentally.

As I said before, you have finally grown up mentally enough to be a high quality starter in this league. Let's see you make the jump to playmaker.

Ya that quote was odd. All Bates did was push every play his direction. Nolan would specifically line up the defensive front to keep DJ clean and put a blocker on Davis.

UberBroncoMan
10-23-2010, 10:43 PM
DJ remains the only person Madden ever said could have gone to the NFL straight out of High School.

BroncoInferno
10-24-2010, 01:11 AM
Well, yes Martindale is using you correctly this year DJ. Doom is out, Ayers is injured, and the rest of the LB's are role players. I HOPE he is funneling plays to you.

As far as the previous guys using you correctly, well whatever. I was there when you were demoted in TC for blowing nickle coverages. Socal and I saw it firsthand. It is not like they did not give you opportunities, you just blew them mentally.

As I said before, you have finally grown up mentally enough to be a high quality starter in this league. Let's see you make the jump to playmaker.

Yep. To this very day people still hate on Ian Gold for "taking DJs spot" on the weakside, when the fact of the matter was he simply outplayed DJ on the weakside, particularly in the nickle. The staff WANTED DJ to win the nickle role, as evidenced by him getting the first crack at it, but he simply was not as good as Ian during that period. Gold was one of the most underrated Broncos we ever had. Unreasoned hate was directed towards him when the fact is he produced up until his last season. Never will understand that.

Cito Pelon
10-24-2010, 08:35 AM
Well, yes Martindale is using you correctly this year DJ. Doom is out, Ayers is injured, and the rest of the LB's are role players. I HOPE he is funneling plays to you.

As far as the previous guys using you correctly, well whatever. I was there when you were demoted in TC for blowing nickle coverages. Socal and I saw it firsthand. It is not like they did not give you opportunities, you just blew them mentally.

As I said before, you have finally grown up mentally enough to be a high quality starter in this league. Let's see you make the jump to playmaker.

That's the next step. DJ's been a solid LB. And a solid citizen, that counts for a lot, IMO.