The New Orleans Saints have had a great run in the regular season, winning three consecutive NFC South Championships. But then in the playoffs, they’ve faltered. Could this be the year the Saints make it to the Super Bowl?
For his perspective, SI’s Bill Enright caught up with free safety Marcus Williams who has been with the team since their regular season winning streak began.
Williams started out by setting the record straight: Past performance is no guarantee of future success. For him, it’s all about staying in the present.
“You can’t just think that each year is going to be the same,” he said. “You have to continue to work, you have to continue to strive to be better than you were the last year.”
Williams believes that taking it one day at a time and one play at a time is what will get them “over that hump.”
With the Saints re-signing Drew Brees and bringing back free agent Malcolm Jenkins, there’s a lot to be hopeful for. The combination of Jenkins, Williams, Marshon Lattimore, and Janoris Jenkins could be the league’s best secondary. But Williams demurred.
“I'm not a big talker on who's the best and who's not, but I know everybody in our group is going to be ready to play, ready to perform and ready to go and work to do our best each and every time we go out there on the field.”
According to Williams, the culture at the Saints is to continue to work and to do the best that they can each time they step on the field.
Right now, he’s sheltering in place at home in Southern California, training as much as he can to get ahead and be ready, while staying connected with family and friends. “Football will come,” he said.
And so will Tom Brady, who recently joined the NFC South with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yet despite the hype and his superstar status, Williams isn’t concerned now that he’ll be playing against him twice a year.
“I think it's another challenge. I'm always up for a new challenge no matter who it is,” he said. “When he comes, we're just going to compete. He's another quarterback. He's on the other team and whatever comes, comes.”
Williams doesn’t think the Brady-effect will distract him from what he has to do. “I'm going to prepare how I prepare every single game regardless of how great a quarterback he is,” he said. “You just have to go out there and perform.”
While he prepares himself for an eventual return to the field as soon as it’s safe to do so, he also considers the ripple effects of the current crisis. Every summer, he gives back to the community by running a free football fundamentals camp for kids ages 8-12.
“I had, actually, the Hall of Famer, Andre Reed come in last year and he was able to speak with the kids,” he said. “It’s a great experience to be able to give back to my community, give back to the kids, and have them be able to look up to someone other than just the people around them and show them that there's others that do care for them.”
Hopefully, this summer won’t be any different.