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Transcript - P.J.Williams Conference Call 12/30/20 | Week 17 vs. Panthers

New Orleans Saints defensive back P.J.Williams talks defensive progression throughout the season prior to the Saints regular season finale against the Carolina Panthers on January 3, 2021.

New Orleans Saints Defensive Back P.J. Williams
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

I'm curious if there's a point in this season where you can kind of look and see where you guys really started turning it around and playing the kind of defense you kind of knew you were capable of?
"I am not sure which game, but it was definitely going into like the second quarter, maybe after the first three, (or) four games. We pretty much knew what we were capable of, just going out there and not really playing up to our standards. And a lot of little things which we talked about at the beginning of the season that we needed to fix, which we definitely slowly started to fix. And going from not playing as well to being one of the top defenses. So, it had to be around right after the first quarter of the season."

And I know I remember hearing a lot of you guys, I mean maybe for the last couple years saying like one of your goals is to be a top five defense. And now that's like, within reach. Does that even register with you guys? Or at this point you're just so focused on what's coming that it doesn't really matter if your top five, top 10?
"Yeah, no. Mainly for us, it's just winning games, going to the playoffs and putting us up in the best opportunity to win a Super Bowl. That's great being a top five defense, but at the end of the day, we're trying to put ourselves in the best position possible to get to the Super Bowl."

Do you almost feel like you've epitomized this team this season from the standpoint of different people having to step in and you know, you guys still being able to manufacture ways to win?
"Oh yeah, no doubt." We always have that next-man-up mentality. So, I feel like, offensively and defensively that's our mindset, then. And then like, that's always been our mindset here, even with COVID, like even more this year. Just knowing it's an opportunity for somebody to go down and be out for a week or so. So, that's definitely our mindset and even more this year."

Is it easier for you to stay ready knowing that you're in the rotation and you're probably going to play either as a starter or you're going to get a lot of snaps?
"Oh, yeah. I just feel like, even if I'm not in the rotation or not starting, I'll be making sure I'm preparing like a starter. They coach us up big on making sure we are preparing like a starter. But then also, just me, just playing in different places, I have definitely got to stay ready. So you have to be on point."

Has it surprised you at all that with the depth that you guys do have, I know on paper, obviously on paper it looks like you guys are pretty deep. But, you know, it doesn't seem like you guys missed a beat when anybody's out. Does that surprise you at all?
"Oh, not at all. Not at all. We know the depth we have and know the players we have. So, we know pretty much everyone in our secondary and our defense can play. So, it doesn't surprise me at all. And even on offense, seeing the practice squad guys every day in camp and stuff like that. And then, them going in the game and stepping up and making an impact. So, not at all."

Speaking of impact guys, Kwon Alexander went down last week, how much has he meant to this team in the seven games that he was with you?
"Oh, he meant a lot man. He brought a lot to our secondary, man. He's a dog. He loved the game. And he played fast and physical. We love that, but we've definitely got guys that we know are going to step up and take advantage of the opportunity, but he definitely meant a lot to us."

How big of a role does Malcolm Jenkins play for your defense just down by the box, and making plays behind the line of scrimmage, sacking the quarterback, that sort of thing?
"Yeah, it's a big role. He prays pretty much in every single package and plays like 100 percent of the snaps, so the coaches trust him, we trust him and just to go make the plays that he makes is just big for us. Because a lot of people can't make those plays. So just overall, his play and his knowledge of the game helps us a lot."

what kind of goes into that, like just a defensive back being able to play that physical kind of game, like what does he need to have in order to do that?
"A lot has to do with just being smart, knowing when you can trigger, go make those plays, knowing the system of our defense and knowing what the offense is giving me, so just being smart, and then having a knack for making plays, that's also a big thing."

At this time last year, I think you hadn't played safety since like high school or something like that. Now that you've had this much time in it, do you feel more comfortable there than you do at slot or nickel? Or how's that going for you?
"Yeah, no doubt. Last year, was my first time playing for a long time. So this year, (I'm) a whole lot more comfortable as a safety, getting a lot of practice reps. And then some game reps, and then last game playing the whole game. So it's definitely a lot more comfortable. But you've just got to make that transition where you're going from one position to the next. As far as your discipline, and knowing the things you need to know to be able to be successful."

The last game you played against the Panthers, you got away with a three point win, but what's the biggest change you're looking to have this time around as far as yardage and points, what is the biggest change you're looking to have this time around?
"I'm pretty sure we had a few bad penalties that last game we played them and then they had a busted coverage where they throw it over the top on us and at this point, we're one of the best teams at not giving up explosive plays. So that's going to be big coming into this game, not giving up those plays and just a lot of little things. That was early in the season and we were a little shaky and not playing to our standard. So we're definitely looking for it to be a whole different game."

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