Marcus Williams still asks questions, because he still wants to get better.
With 13 interceptions, 30 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery on his resume after his first four NFL seasons, the New Orleans Saints free safety – a day one starter since he was a second-round pick in 2017 – knows there's lots more production if he continues the current trajectory.
Williams easily can track his maturing process as a Saint.
"A lot of mental growth," he said. "Just coming in as a rookie, you know you have to catch up fast, you have to catch up to the guys who are there. So as a rookie, I was spending a lot of time in the film room and it just carries over.
"Year by year, you start knowing more, especially being on the field. You get more reps, the more reps you get the better you are. The more reps that I got, it just put me in better position to make plays. I pride myself on making plays each year, I just continue to get better at watching film and coming out on the field and trying new things to see where I can get to, just so that I'm better each and every year.
"I just continue to ask questions, ask my peers questions, ask even the quarterbacks questions to see what I'm doing that they're picking up on so that I can get better at that when I go out on the field against opponents."
And when Williams sets a path at getting better, he has been able to walk it.
After a standout rookie season (four interceptions, seven passes defensed, 73 tackles in 15 starts), he took a step back in '18, with two interceptions, three passes defensed and 59 tackles. So Williams targeted improved tackling in '19, and while his tackling numbers (55) were relatively unchanged, his reliability rose and his interception total rose back to four, including his first interception return for a touchdown.
The reliability remained in 2020, as Williams solidified his presence and the Saints continued their rise defensively. In '20, New Orleans tied for the league lead with 18 interceptions, ranked fourth in yards per game allowed (310.9) and rushing yards per game allowed (91.3), and fifth in points allowed (21.1) and passing yards per game allowed (217).
More than anything, he likes having the chance to make a play on the ball.
"It's pretty instinctual for me," said Williams, who played receiver in high school. "But also, being around the ball is all about film study, all about knowing where guys are at, where they're lined up, kind of put me in better position especially with the plays that are called. I can put myself in better position knowing where I'm supposed to be at, knowing what my range is depending on where I am on the field.
The New Orleans Saints take the field for Day 9 of Training Camp presented by SeatGeek at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.
"I like taking the ball away. If the ball is in the air, that's what I want to do. I'm going to make a big hit but it's all about getting the ball back to our offense, in all reality. It's all about the ball in this game. If I get a big hit and he fumbles then I'm happy, but I'd rather get a pick over a hit."
Either way, it achieves the defense's goal of forcing turnovers.
"Takeaways change a game," he said. "The more takeaways you get, can change a game. We pride ourselves on getting takeaways, the last few years we've taken the ball away. We just continue to pride ourselves on that, work it at practice so it transfers to the game."
And Williams continues his work, which has included sculpting himself into an impressive specimen. Though officially listed at 195 pounds, he checks in at a ripped 210.
"I've been 210 for the last three years," he said, laughing. "I love the weight that I'm at. I still fly around and everything; I've always been 202 to 210. That 195 is wrong."