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John DeShazier: Running back Jonathan Williams calls Saints 'a great fit'

Posted Nov 15, 2017

Assistant Joel Thomas coached Williams at Arkansas

New Orleans didn’t place the first call, but it had the best call. Otherwise, running back Jonathan Williams would have been an Atlanta Falcon on Wednesday, rather than the newest New Orleans Saint.

“It was a weird process when I got the call, just because Atlanta had called before and I thought I was going there, and then the Saints called,” Williams said Wednesday in the Saints' locker room. “Just weighing the options, I like the organization here, the atmosphere here. (Saints running backs) coach (Joel) Thomas was a guy that coached me at Arkansas, so I'm familiar with him, too. So it was a great fit.”

Thomas, in fact, was the best salesman that the Saints could have used. The second-year pro, who was a fifth-round draft pick by the Bills in 2016, was signed off Denver’s practice squad. The roster move was made necessary when the Saints placed running back Daniel Lasco on injured reserve. Lasco suffered a spinal injury in the Saints’ last game, against Buffalo; he will have surgery for a bulging disc and will miss the rest of the season, but the injury is not considered career-ending.

“(Thomas) was big in the process,” Williams said. “I was familiar with him and his family and the way he coaches, so that made the decision easy.

“Me and (Thomas) kept in touch here and there. I definitely used to watch him and being a former player with the Bills, I watched the last game and saw how they ran up and down the field against them (the Saints ran 48 times for 298 yards and a franchise-record six touchdowns against Buffalo). It’s definitely a team that I watched out for.

“Coach Thomas, I’m used to the way he teaches. He’s a real good teacher of the game. He’s going to have a couple of plays for me, specific things in the offense that I can learn and be ready to play, and play fast. I think it’s a great situation to be in.”

Williams said he would be ready for whatever role the Saints have for him.

“Just come in and work and help this team continue the streak – however that is, whether it’s special teams or whatever role it is, I just want to be able to come in and fit in and help this team keep rolling,” he said.

“I played a little bit of special teams at Buffalo. Not a whole lot, but I’m willing to do whatever I need to do to help this team continue to win.”

ON THE LEVEL: Quarterback Drew Brees is one of the few Saints in the locker room who have experienced this level of success with New Orleans. Brees has quarterbacked the Saints to a franchise-record 13 consecutive wins in 2009, six straight in ’10, nine straight (including a wild card playoff victory) in ’11, five straight to open the ’13 season and the current seven straight this season.

And he’s also at the head of the class in terms of cautioning his teammates to maintain their poise and keep steady heads.

“Absolutely,” he said Wednesday. “Again, I don’t think we’ve played our best football. I know that the challenges only become greater as we go along here. The ultimate goal this season was not to be 7-2, the ultimate goal is to continue to win, put ourselves in a position to win the division and go to the playoffs and see what happens.

“I like the track that we’re on. I think we’re an ascending team, I think we continue to get better every week, we’ve found a bunch of different ways to win, got a lot of guys that are playing well and gaining a lot of confidence along the way. So we want to keep that going.

“I think the big message this week is, nothing is guaranteed. You’ve got to come out and earn it every week. And it starts with your preparation. That’s why our practices are fast and intense, lot of energy. Guys are competing and we still feel like we have a lot to prove.”

 

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