Sunday has been a long time coming for Cleveland Browns cornerback Greedy Williams.
When he takes the field at U.S. Bank Stadium for Cleveland’s first defensive series against the Minnesota Vikings, it will be Williams’ first start since Week 17 of the 2019 season.
Since then, Williams missed the entire 2020 season with axillary nerve damage in his shoulder, then saw rookie Greg Newsome II take over the starting spot opposite cornerback Denzel Ward this summer.
Sure, Williams might only be starting on Sunday because Newsome is out with a calf injury, but it is still to Williams’ credit that he worked his way back onto the roster and is in line to see significant playing time against the Vikings.
Williams met with the media on Thursday and said he is working to stay mentally focused on the task at hand, according to a team-provided transcript:
“I do not let emotions get the best of me. I just take it day by day. As the time comes and the game approaches, that is when my mind is clicked in. I am already mentally prepared for anything. I feel like I am ready. That is all that matters.”
Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions so far this season, will certainly test Williams early and often on Sunday. And while Ward should be able to hold his own, Williams will be lined up at times opposite wide receiver Adam Thielen, who has four touchdown receptions, or wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who is coming off a game against the Seattle Seahawks where he finished with nine receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown.
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods is confident that he knows what Williams’ strengths are and what he needs to do to be successful against the Vikings, according to a team-provided transcript:
“I have seen enough of him in practice just to know what he is capable of doing. He is athletic. He has length. He is able to be aggressive for us in terms of playing man coverage. It is more really the physical aspect of it, just coming off of the shoulder [injury]. I think he is confident. When he stepped in the game, he made a couple of plays so he will be ready to go.”
Williams may not be the same player as Newsome, but if he can hold his own against the Vikings, it will be a big boost to a Cleveland defense that started to find its mojo last week against the Chicago Bears.