RB Kerwynn Williams - Free Agent
|5-8, 195||Born: 6-9-1991||College: Utah State||Drafted: Round 7, pick 230 (2013)|
2017 Week 1 vs DET (5 / 10 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)
Despite the glory of scoring a touchdown, Williams did not a fare any better than Johnson when running against the Detroit defense on Sunday. Whether the team looks for additional help outside in the event of a long-term injury to Johnson remains to be seen, but Williams will serve as the primary back in that situation. Williams has seen success in games in which he has been more prominently featured, but with the Cardinals offensive line looking so ineffective, it is hard to imagine anyone having much success running behind it.
2017 Week 3 vs DAL (1 / 3 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
After a more balance split in the running back rotation in Week 2, Williams was the clear No.3 back against Dallas. Williams saw a single offensive snap, a wildcat rushing attempt against Dallas, in addition to special teams work. With Chris Johnson as the early-down back and Andre Ellington seeing a heavy rate of the late-game snaps in catch-up mode, Williams needs another injury on the depth chart for expanded opportunity going forward.
2017 Week 13 vs LAR (16 / 97 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Filling in for the injured Adrian Peterson, Williams did what he has often done in a backup role for this team; step in and produce. That has not always been the case for Kerwynn when the coaching staff has made a concerted effort to involve him in game plans, but when he is forced into a starting role due to injury, he has generally found success. While it was Elijah Williams who scored the team's lone rushing touchdown, Kerwynn was the engine of the offense all afternoon. Often doing his damage running behind the left-side of the line, Williams showed burst, elusiveness and determination as a runner, falling just shy of an 100 yard game. It is nothing we have not seen from Williams before, making him a known asset, but not someone who should be expected to build on Sunday's quality start.
2017 Week 14 vs TEN (20 / 73 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 15 / 0 rec)
While 77 yards on fewer than 4 yards-per-carry likely does not qualify as a "bright spot", Kerwynn Williams was the closest to that the Cardinals offense had on Sunday. For the second straight week, the diminutive running back has found was to keep the Cardinals offense moving forward. Often in little burst, but rarely backward, Williams has become an offensive crutch for a team struggling through the air. Despite not having the team's longest run of the day, Chad Williams 33-yard end around provided that, but his ability to keep the offense moving forward allowed for easier conversions and manageable 3rd downs for Gabbert, which proved vital for all of those second-half field goal drives. The Cardinals won Sunday via a death of a thousand cuts, and Kerwynn Williams was often holding the blade.
2017 Week 15 vs WAS (17 / 61 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
The run game was a lone bright spot early in Sunday's game, with the Cardinals finding a lot of success early running between the tackles. Williams was the primary ball carrier early on, notching the majority of his 17 carriers all before half. But the pain of the broken ribs he had been playing with became too much, forcing Elijah Penny to finish out the contest. Collectively their numbers were not bad, producing over 100-yards on a hair shy of 4-yards-per-carry, but trailing early and often prevented a full commitment to the run game, and Gabbert's inability to provide much through the air left for a fairly unbalanced attack. Williams is an easy player to root for and his performance through the struggles of the last several weeks a lone bright spot. It would be shame to see him have to sit out the remainder of the season as well.
2017 Week 16 vs NYG (16 / 51 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 14 / 0 rec)
Williams and the run game did little more than provide a sense of balance for the Cardinals offense on Sunday. Collectively falling well short of 100 rushing yards as a team, Williams' 51 yards alone comprised the vast majority of the team's rushing total on Sunday, and even that was primarily accomplished through a 21-yard run, the team's long of the day. Neither offense, and specifically neither offense's run game did much on Sunday, a credit to both team's atrophied offensive and active defensive lines. What Williams did most impressively on Sunday was absorb hits and continue to move forward. It is not a trait often associated with Williams, nor is it apparent in his box score, but the Cardinals offense is one that needs every inch of grass and momentum to see success, and on Sunday Williams managed to provide both when the team needed it.
2017 Week 17 vs SEA (23 / 75 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)
By the end of the afternoon, Williams' yards-per-carry average dipped well below any impressive benchmark, and none of his box-score statistics does a great job painting a picture of Williams' day on Sunday. Kerwynn was simply fantastic, specifically in the first half, as the diminutive running back consistently snapped off positive plays, leaving an under-manned offense in good position all afternoon. Williams strong and shifty running never found the end zone, but consistently in manageable down and distance situations all day, while converting plenty of first downs in the process. With a new staff and system, Williams' role going forward will remain just as precarious as it has been the entirety of his Cardinals career, but the tape he put forth in 2017 should absolutely be enough to have him strongly in contention as the team's #2 running back next season.
2016 Week 15 vs NO (3 / 63 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Kerywnn carried the ball 3 times on Sunday, all out of the wildcat formation that the team has begun to deploy of late, and made the most of his limited role. Kerwynn's first carry went 49-yards for the team's first touchdown early in the first quarter, following both his sweeper and blockers out to the right and down the sideline, outrunning the Saints defense. It is hard to imagine the Wildcat having much carryover into next season, but with both Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington unlikely to be back in 2017, these games are providing Williams with an important opportunity to make a case for being the team's #2 back next season.
2016 Week 17 vs LA (12 / 60 / 1 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Williams was serviceable filling in for Johnson, showing his burst and power despite the small frame. His consistent blunders on Special Teams- Williams was again the culprit on the team's punt being blocked- puts his roster spot in a bit more jeopardy than it should be, but otherwise has proven himself to be a very capable backup for Johnson. Whether Williams maintains this role in 2017 remains to be seen, but he has done enough in his limited carries to warrant the Cardinals using their resources elsewhere this offseason.
2015 Week 13 vs LA (6 / 59 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Playing an important role as the complimentary back to Johnson's new lead role, Williams was the game-sealer for the Cardinals on Sunday. Pressed into a similar role last year due to injuries, Williams showed his sparkplug ability that was back on display Sunday. Behind the stout block of LG Mike Iupati, and a quality pull from the right-side of the line, Williams raced through the gap, made one second-level defender miss before sprinting in for the back-breaking 35-yard touchdown that cemented the game for the Cardinals. Like David Johnson himself, Williams has had some ball-security issues but has shown both speed and explosiveness as a runner when given the opportunity. While the team remains hopeful Andre Ellington will be able to contribute again in the regular season and forward, Williams will be thrust into the important role of complimentary back, and performances like Sunday's give optimism he'll be ready for the challenge.
2014 Week 14 vs KC (19 / 100 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Just as well all predicted, Kerwynn Williams became the first Cardinals player to rush for 100-yards this season. A few changes up front for the Cardinals certainly played a role in the improved run game, with Jonathan Cooper getting the start and left guard and Darren Fells playing significant snaps over John Carlson at tight end, but credit to Williams must be given. He ran hard and displayed impressive change of direction ability. The Chiefs have struggled stopping the run about as much as the Cardinals have struggled to generate a ground game, so this was a battle of weaknesses that the Cardinals needed to win. Coach Arians said his plan in light of the Ellington injury is to "ride the hot hand," and Williams will be given every opportunity to prove himself the hot hand on Thursday in St. Louis.
2014 Week 15 vs STL (15 / 75 / 0 rush, 5 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)
Flashing much of the same big-play potential as the week previous, Kerwynn Williams followed up his impressive NFL debut with another solid effort. Kerwynn provided a more electric counter-part to Stepfan Taylor, providing a bit of the dynamic a healthy Andre Ellington once did. Williams ended the night with one more carry than Taylor, so expect Arians to use a similar game plan next week against Seattle. Start with Taylor and then work Williams in. If both players are having success, continue the timeshare, if not Arians will ride the hot hand.
2014 Week 17 vs SF (17 / 67 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
After failing to see the field against Seattle, Kerwynn came back and led the team in carries on Sunday averaging just under 4 yards per. While his speed and shiftiness were evident in Williams's very first game, his strong running between the tackles is what's become arguably his most attractive attribute. Williams does not dance between the tackles, instead simply picks his hole, lowers his head and barrels in. For someone who originally was supposed to fill the Ellington role, Williams runs with a very different style. With Ellington set to return healthy next year, and the running back position in general being so volatile, its difficult to know what the future holds for Williams, but with three solid performances under his belt, and a playoff game to show off more, it'd be surprising if Kerwynn wasn't competing for playing time next spring.
2014 Week 18 vs CAR (10 / 23 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 0 / 0 rec)
As has been the case from all opposing defenses since Lindley took over, the Panthers loaded up the box in an effort to take away the run game and had incredible success doing so. Williams, who led the team in carries, had few open lanes and was frequently forced to avoid defenders in the backfield. Without even the resemblance of a passing game to compliment, there was very little chance the Cardinals would see success out of their run game, but even with the odds --and box--stacked against them, you'd expect any unit to be able to produce more than 1 run longer than 3 yards, which inconceivably the Cardinals failed to do.