The Washington Post

Nick Williams seeks improvement for Redskins in second outing

Nick Williams recovers a muffed punt in his debut last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Howard Smith/USA Today Sports) Nick Williams recovers a muffed punt in his debut last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Howard Smith/USA Today Sports)

His introduction to the NFL out of the way, rookie punt returner Nick Williams aims to display improvement this week for the Washington Redskins.

Williams – an undrafted UConn product, who last week got the call up from the practice squad – muffed two punts in his debut. One of them went out of bounds, and the other, he quickly recovered. But he didn’t register a return as another punt landed out of bounds and he allowed the coverage unit to down the other two.

Although frustrated by the lack of an impact in the returns game last Sunday, Williams expects to benefit from the experience this week.

“You grow from it,” he said. “Whether you have a good performance or a not-so-good one, like in my case, each time you just learn from it and try to get better.”

Williams admitted experiencing some jitters, but he said aside from facing Donnie Jones, who is left-footed, so the ball comes off his foot differently, the actual aspects of tracking the ball with defenders coming toward him didn’t feel much different than the college level.

“It’s a little bit different. I hit a lefty punter and haven’t really seen one of those guys before. But I’ve caught hundreds of punts over my career, it’s not that much different,” Williams said.

Williams did have a bright spot on offense when he caught a pass for Robert Griffin III for a two-point conversion.

“At the time, I wasn’t that excited because we were down in the game and I wasn’t playing the best up until that point,” he said. “But in retrospect that was a good play to make. I hadn’t been in that situation before: out there in a two-point conversion deal. So it was a good play to make.”

This week Williams, who also had a five-yard catch, expects to remain at punt returner, but said he wasn’t sure what the offensive game plan had for him. So, he set a simple goal for himself.

“Just grow and play the best you can whatever role coaches ask you to fulfill,” Williams said. “Do your best and try to help the team win.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.



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Mike Jones · November 22, 2013