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Defensive back P.J. Williams likes comfort zone he has with New Orleans Saints

'We equally have a great understanding of where I am in my career and where I'm trying to go'

For P.J. Williams, comfort and familiarity were leading factors in his return to the New Orleans Saints as an unrestricted free agent this year.

New Orleans is the only franchise for which Williams has played. The third-round pick in 2015 has played several positions in the defensive backfield, and his versatility has become one of his most valuable assets.

"No doubt, I feel like that made me a better player, in all those positions just understanding the defense a lot more and understanding what's hard at each position, and what's better," Williams said.

And for Williams, who agreed to terms on a one-year deal, staying put and learning more was the most attractive option.

"Ultimately, I just feel like this is the best decision for me and my career and my family – being in a place where I've been comfortable, know the coaches, they know me, and we equally have a great understanding of where I am in my career and where I'm trying to go," he said.

"Just understanding me, who I am as a player. Going to another team, you've got to prove yourself to be who you are, which isn't a problem. But them understanding me as a player and as a leader and knowing what I can do for the room, I feel like that was big."

Williams played in 15 regular-season games last season, with three starts. He started the last two regular-season games at free safety, and for the season had an interception (returned 30 yards), a career high two fumble recoveries, two passes defensed and 37 tackles. He also had three special team tackles.

He understands that he will be returning to a different team; Drew Brees, the team's starting quarterback since 2006, retired and several other players were released or signed elsewhere as free agents.

"This team has been pretty much together for so long, they did a great job of keeping us together," he said. "But when you're losing big pieces like Drew Brees and other guys, it's just way different.

"(I'm) excited to see how we're going to be and just knowing that it's going to be a new team. Every year we look at it as a new team, but really with no big changes. I'm excited to go in, and I know everybody else is, to work to get to where we need to go and ultimately try to be better."

Williams has played with both quarterbacks who will vie for the starting job. Taysom Hill has been his Saints teammate since 2017 and before Jameis Winston joined the Saints last year as an unrestricted free agent, Williams and Winston played together at Florida State from 2012-14 (Winston was a redshirt in '12).

Williams said if Winston wins the job, he'll be a player that teammates can follow.

"I feel like he's an ultimate leader," Williams said. "He knows how to talk to people, he voices his opinion and he's just going to always be real with you. Whoever knows him, they know he's going to keep it real with you. I just feel like he's a great leader.

"I've been around him long enough, he's been one of my good friends and also that was a big decision why I also came back, just being able to know a guy like that, that I know is going to help us be able to win.

"I feel like him being himself, and knowing how to talk to people and knowing how to make people better around him, he does a great job of that. You don't feel like he's being fake. Like, you may get fake energy from some people but with him, it's all real energy and I feel like good teams and good players, they feed off good energy, real energy."


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