Williams packing a wallop

Veteran Rams defensive back Aeneas Williams discusses his new role at safety, mentoring St. Louis' young cornerbacks and the big hits he has put on the 49ers over the years, along with other subjects regarding the Niners and Rams.

Q: How would you describe the current status of the Rams?

Williams: We're still getting better each week. We've counted on a number of young guys to play. The young guys have been a pleasant surprise. We have had a number of injuries, but having our young guys come in and be able to play right away has helped us out an awful lot.

Q: Have you played a role as mentor to the team's young cornerbacks?

Williams: Well, the first thing is to pass on everything I know. I put in to them as much as I believe they can handle at this time. But, it is also just a reinforcement from a different voice other than the coaches. The coaches are very good coaches in the classroom. Now, I get to almost be another voice out on the field and I am able to emphasize the little techniques and different things that it takes to play at a higher level.

Q: How has your move from cornerback to safety been going?

Williams: It's been good. I have actually had more of an opportunity to be around the ball. It gives me an opportunity to also be somewhat of a security blanket back there to help the young guys. Them knowing I'm back there and they know I understand the position that they are in.

Q: Did you feel you were slowing down at cornerback?

Williams: No, No. It was just something that the coaches wanted to do. With Jason (Sehorn) getting hurt early on, it was just a move that we decided to do. No, because still in certain situations, I'll still be moving around and may not be in the same spot.

Q: Would you like to go back to cornerback?

Williams: I enjoy both. The good thing about safety is that I get to read and get to be around the ball. Corner, I've always done that and I can continue to do it. I'm enjoying both right now.

Q: Do you find yourself being more of a hitter at safety?

Williams: Well, you definitely have to do more hitting. It involves more tackling. You have to be more of a sure tackler at safety.

Q: Since your big hit on Terrell Owens the last time you played in September, do you think he is same player he was?

Williams: What I saw against San Francisco, certainly, he's Terrell. He's taking the ball and having the opportunity to take a five-yard catch the distance. I believe Terrell is as explosive as he has ever been.

Q: When you put a big hit on receiver, does it have effect on them?

Williams: Anytime, as a defense, when you are able to hit guys, you just want to create a slight hesitation. As a safety and as linebackers, one of the things we want to do is get an opportunity to tackle, and when we have to tackle, tackle hard. That is what we want to do. As a defense, one of the things we are designed to do is for a number of guys to get around the ball and just not make the tackle, but to come and deliver a blow when we get there.

Q: Is there an emphasis to hit Owens hard?

Williams: Our emphasis is like that each week. If you go back and look at tape, you'll find that during the course of the games that we have played, different guys on opposing teams have gotten hit and maybe have gotten hit unexpectedly because guys are flying around and getting to the ball. So, we have that same approach each week.

Q: After you hit Owens, it appeared you stood over and glared at him. Were you trying to send a message to him?

Williams: No. It looks like that, but for me personally, I want to make sure that the guy is fine. I'm not in the business to end anybody's career. So, anytime somebody goes down, it may look like that from a demeanor. When your teammates are hopping around, then it takes on a different tone. The main thing is that I want to make sure that he is fine.

Q: Does Owens play physical considering his body size?

Williams: He plays physical. That is why you have to be prepared to play physical as well. He uses the body and frame that he has. When we look at film and the little film that I have looked at so far in the games played since we've played him, you have to be aware of him and know where he is. You have come and make sure that you make the sure tackle on him.

Q: What do you recall of night you hit Steve Young?

Williams: I recall the same thing. I recall coming in, and usually on a blitz like that with two backs in the backfield, I'll get picked up. In that situation, I don't know who the back was, but I ended up coming free and was able to see that Steve had just released the ball and I hit him up high and my other teammate hit him down low. It is still the same feeling; to make sure that guys are fine and that they get up. That is my number one concern and my number one prayer.

Q: Did you know he wasn't going to get up?

Williams: I wasn't sure. I just knew he was down. I didn't think it was as serious as it turned out to be, but I definitely always think the guy is going to get up.

Q: How do you reconcile that in your mind? You want to hit guy as hard as you can, but you also want him to be alright?

Williams: Well, I'm able to reconcile it because I want to play the game at a high level and at the best of my ability. In this game, hitting hard, as well as getting hit hard by someone, is part of the game. But certainly, we are not in the game where you are rooting for guys to finish their careers.

Q: What's your biggest challenge as free safety going up against Garcia?

Williams: Staying disciplined because Jeff does a fantastic job in buying himself time. He can move around and create opportunities when normally a quarterback would be sacked or break the line of scrimmage and attempt to run. Jeff does a great job in moving around and staying active, yet still being behind the line of scrimmage. That gives the receivers the opportunity to get open.

Q: Why has 49ers offense been so inconsistent?

Williams: I don't know. I can't answer that. All I know is that when we come in and get ready to play him, we are a team that, as a defense, we know we have to be able to play and play at a high level when we play this offense.

Q: Why has Rams offense become consistent?

Williams: We just attempt to get better each week. That has been our goal. The coaching staff, I believe, had done a good job in getting us ready to play. Another thing that we do well here is that the coaching staff constantly gets the second and third team guys ready to play. Because they have been ready to play, that has helped us as a team significantly with the injuries that we have had.

Q: Garcia said in first match up he was glad you were going through position change. Do you feel you are as effective at safety as cornerback?

Williams: Yes. The good thing is during the preseason, I didn't get an opportunity to play a lot of it. It has been a growing thing and I'm continually getting better and better. So, yes, the longer we go, the better I'll be in understanding and having an opportunity to have even more of an impact on the game.

Q: Can a move like that prolong your career?

Williams: As I tell the guys here, I take each year one at a time. Probably since my seventh year in the league, I have re-evaluated each year. First, whether it is still in my heart to play and if it is, can I contribute and help the team. Right now, I believe those are both checked and I can continue to do that. After this year, I'll make the same evaluation.

Q: You think about making the Hall of Fame some day?

Williams: I don't think a lot about it. Other people talk about it. I'm just each day looking to get better and better. Really, the accolades and all of that stuff are just by-products of the things that you do on a daily basis.


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