Ted Williams has been an Eagles assistant coach since 1995 and, truth be told, I cannot remember ever having a conversation with him that was longer than “how-ya-doing?” Or, “hot-enough-for-ya?” It is because Andy Reid did not allow his position coaches to speak to reporters, except under certain circumstances, until the NFL changed the rules and called for more access to assistants league-wide. All of which led to a half-hour availability on Monday afternoon — and this column.
Williams has groomed and improved a great series of backs for the Eagles: Ricky Watters, Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook and now LeSean McCoy. Williams talks about all of them like a proud teacher, and when he talks about McCoy, he quickly highlights the next step in McCoy’s development.
It is this conundrum: on the one hand, his ability to change direction, sometimes at the last fraction of a second, marks him as a special player and a home run hitter and got him the big new contract he signed last week; on the other hand, there are plays where you wish he would just take what was there and stop with the dancing that can lead to negative plays, too.
“The toughest thing for a guy to realize in the NFL...is dealing with what happens to you when the other guy is good,” Williams said. “Because in college, if you’re better than them, you’re better than them most of the time. That doesn’t change. But at this level, you might get to Game 10 and everybody’s better than you -- and having, mentally, to walk out there and say, ‘I’m going to take zero yards. I’m going to take 1 yard. Because these guys are better. And we have to keep pounding it until we get it right.’ I think that’s the part of his game that he’s got to grow into, just realizing that there are going to be days when it doesn’t go well. You just have to fight through it.”