Ryan Williams is starting over.
The Arizona Cardinals running back has seen it all in just over two years of NFL life. After waiting patiently through the lockout before his rookie year he tore his right patellar tendon in the pre-season which cost him the entire 2011 season. After rehabbing and eventually returning to the field last fall he injured his shoulder against the Rams ending his season in week five.
Now Williams is familiar with the routine. Nothing is given, everything is earned in the National Football League.
“I’m feelin’ good,” Williams told Brad Cesmat in a recent interview on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “I can honestly say this is the best I’ve felt in the past two years. I can’t complain…I’m actually waking up being happy. I haven’t had that in awhile.”
A healthy Williams would make new head coach Bruce Arians and the rest of his staff happy after the organization cut ties with underperforming Beanie Wells in March. The Red Birds added Rashard Mendenhall who essentially switched teams with Wells who signed with the Steelers.
Williams believes one positive of missing two-thirds of last season was allowing his knee to heal and strengthen even more without the grind of the 17-week season. He’s also dropped his playing weight from around 215 which he was at Virginia Tech to 210. It came at the request of strength coach John Lott this off-season.
As the Cards work through their OTA’s (organized team activities) in Tempe this week Arians has already made a lasting impression with Williams.
“He doesn’t let things slide by,” he explained to Cesmat. “He’s looking for everybody to do a good job. One thing that he does that I love…throughout practice he’s going to put emphasis on anybody who made a mistake…it may not be a bad thing…just to let you know that you made an error, clean it up.”
Williams hasn’t and won’t go “full speed” until fall camp but he’s chomping at the bit.
“I love making plays. I love making ‘oohs and ahhs’…there’s a lot of things I can’t show [yet].”
The Cardinals are hoping those oohs and ahhs are much different than the one’s they heard the last two years.