Despite flags, Williams vows to remain physical

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Despite flags, Williams vows to remain physical

3 and Out: Mosher, Gonzalez and Frank

September 17, 2013, 8:00 am
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Cary Williams was called for pass interference three times during the Eagles' loss to the Chargers. (USA Today Images)

He’s not going to change the way he plays. No matter how many penalties he draws.

Veteran cornerback Cary Williams was cited for pass interference three times Sunday in the San Diego game, making him the first Eagles defensive back penalized three times in a game since safety Quintin Mikell was flagged three times in a game against the Giants in 2009.

Williams is already halfway to his 2011 and 2012 penalty total of six with the Ravens.

And two weeks into the season, Williams shares the NFL lead with three pass interference penalties. The only NFL player called for more penalties so far is Broncos cornerback Tony Carter, with four.

Rams corner Cortland Finnegan is the only other NFL defensive player cited for three penalties already, and they were all personal fouls for unnecessary roughness.

The second penalty on Williams Sunday was questionable, but like Finnegan, Williams is becoming the type of player that officials are always looking for.

The way he carries himself -- loud, opinionated, trash-talking -- and the way he plays -- physical and aggressive, always clutching, grabbing, reaching -- could easily make him a target.

“It’s a part of the game, man,” Williams said. “Sometimes the refs are going to call the game close, sometimes you’re going to get calls, sometimes you’re not. At the end of the day, I’m still going to play my game.

“One of them [Sunday] was a blatant hold, I know I did that. It happens. It’s part of the game. You just live with it and try your best to stay within the fundamentals and put your best foot forward every time you’re out there.”

The NFL tracks penalties going back to 1999, and during that period, the most penalties committed by an Eagle is 13 by Shawn Andrews in 2005 and Jason Babin in 2011. The most by a defensive back is 12 by Dimitri Patterson in 2010.

The Chargers piled up 539 total yards and 419 passing yards against the Eagles on Sunday. Not counting a one-play kneeldown just before halftime, they averaged 54 yards per possession.

In all, the Eagles committed nine penalties for 77 yards in their 33-30 loss to the Chargers Sunday after committing eight for 65 yards in the opener in Washington. They rank sixth in the NFL with 17 total penalties so far and seventh with 142 penalty yards.

Head coach Chip Kelly said he’s not concerned with the refs singling out Williams or targeting him.

“No, we have the best officials that you possibly can have, and I don't think any official goes into a game and says because someone is flashy or whatever, we're going to target him more than we're going to target anybody else,” he said Monday.

“I think the game was refereed very, very cleanly. All of our eight penalties [actually nine] … there was no argument from any standpoint. That's on us, and we've got to learn to play and play within the rules that they have.”

In the opener in Washington, Williams recorded his sixth career interception in a 33-27 win. He wasn’t called for any penalties.

Because of his personality and outspoken nature, Williams has quickly become a target of fans who lived through the Nnamdi Asomugha and DRC era and are desperate for improved cornerback play.

But so far, the Eagles have allowed 721 passing yards in two games, the seventh-most in NFL history after two games.

And the focus on Williams hasn’t been on his playmaking ability but on his penalties.

“Sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don’t get calls,” Williams said. “It’s football. I can’t cry or gripe about the refs making the calls. I have to do my job and play the way I play and I’m not going to let those guys determine how physical I play.”

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