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Williams Ascends, But Learning Continues

Posted Sep 28, 2005

Darrent Williams made his first NFL start Monday night, but knows he still has much to learn as he continues his rookie season.


Darrent Williams made the first regular-season start of his career Monday night. PHOTO: JAMIE SCHWABEROW / RICH CLARKSON AND ASSOCIATES

By Andrew Mason

DENVER -- When a rookie makes the first start of his NFL career, he must not only prepare for the blessing and burden of additional playing time.

He must be prepared to hear advice from all sides. Monday night, Darrent Williams welcomed every word. Of course, it didn't hurt that he had Rod Smith and John Lynch looking out for him.

Prior to Monday's 30-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, Smith sought out the second-round pick and offered advice that had little to do with the quality of his play and everything to do with savoring the moment

"I told him before the game, 'You have a great opportunity and you deserve it. Take advantage of the opportunity and enjoy it,'" Smith said. "Sometimes you get so caught up in the job, you don't really enjoy it. For him, I just want to see him enjoy the opportunity of getting out there."

Williams listened -- so much so that any lingering nervousness vanished.

"I was just so excited for this game," he said. "I really didn't have too many butterflies."

When the game began, Williams fell under the jurisdiction of Lynch, who in many ways has become the commander of the Denver secondary in just a season and three games of work in orange and blue.

Tough love ensued.

"He's a general out there," Williams said. "In the locker room and practices, he's just a good guy, but out here on this field, he changes his whole demeanor. He'll get on you."

The transgression -- if it can be called that -- involved on-field communication snafus as the Broncos attempted to change from one defense to another as the Chiefs went into their routine of pre-snap motion.

"We were in one defense, and we get some motion and change to another defense, and I wasn't getting the call," Williams said. "(Lynch) was just getting on me. "

Added Lynch: "I just think that Kansas City challenges you mentally as well as physically. With all their shifting and motion, you've really got to be on top of your game. It's communication."

It's also an essential lesson. For while Smith wants Williams to enjoy the chance to play, he also wants him to maximize it. Lynch feels the same way.

"He's done just a tremendous job coming in here and being able to handle a lot of information," Lynch said, "and obviously he's got the physical skills."

All the more reason for Lynch to implore him to be the best.

"(Lynch is) just telling me stuff -- that I can't make mistakes, that we can't give them any easy points," Williams said. "It was great for me, because when people get on me, it makes me want to step my game up more."

Added Lynch: "(Williams) came to me (Monday) and said, 'Well, you're hard out there, but I love it.'"

But to his credit, Williams has been tough on himself, helping him earn the respect of his teammates from his mid-May arrival.

"He fought hard (Monday night). He's been that way from the day he stepped through the gates," Smith said. "He's one of those guys, where you say, 'You know what, I can go fight with that guy,' because he's going to scrap until the horn goes off at the end. You just take your hat off to him because he worked so hard, and then he played well (Monday night)."

Added Willimas: "I'm just trying to get better. I'm trying to keep a position."