Cary Williams on Patriots: 'They are cheaters'

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Cary Williams on Patriots: 'They are cheaters'

Later this month, the Eagles will head to Foxboro for a series of joint practices against the Patriots leading up to their preseason game. Last year, the Patriots came to Philly for the same purpose.

Eagles cornerback Cary Williams made it clear Friday that he’s no fan of practicing against other teams, especially the Patriots, the culprits of the “Spygate” scandal.

“They are cheaters,” Williams said. “They are.”

In 2007, the Pats were fined $250,000 by the NFL and docked a 2008 first-round pick for illegally videotaping opponents’ defensive signals. Head coach Bill Belichick, who’s still the head coach, was fined an additional $500,000.

Williams, whose disdain for the Patriots goes back to his days with the arch-rival Ravens and their heated playoff showdown, said there’s no benefit to practicing against other teams, especially a team with New England’s “history.”

“You don’t wanna give any — I don’t care whether it’s the Patriots or it’s the the dang Bengals, whoever it is — you don’t want to give them an opportunity to look at your stuff,” he said. “That’s just me, from a personal standpoint. I don’t want to show none of my cards.

“So to me it’s not benefiting us because they’ve already proven who they are (from Spygate), that’s their history. And I don’t like them, not only because of that, but because I just don’t like them. I played them three of four times in a row [in the playoffs].”

Williams said he also hates the Steelers, one of Baltimore’s division rivals, and is developing a distaste for other NFC East teams, but he reserved the “cheaters” label exclusively for the Patriots and noted their Super Bowl drought since Spygate penalties were levied.

“I’m trying not to go into details about it or disrespect that organization because I give that organization nothing but ... you still got to go out there and play the game,” he said. “All the credit. I give them all the credit in the world. But one fact still remains, they haven’t won a Super Bowl since they got caught.”

He then added, “You got caught. I know you’re gonna be looking at the film when we go out there. That’s just that. I don’t want to show them my card. That’s just me, not them. Not them. Every team is gonna look at it anyway. We’re gonna look at what they do too.”

Williams made his displeasure known last year, when he was booted from a joint practice after scuffling with a New England wideout. Eagles coach Chip Kelly and Belichick, coaching pals, made a prior agreement that any player caught tussling would be kicked out of practice.

The Ravens and Patriots met three times in the playoffs when Williams played for Baltimore, with the Ravens winning twice. They squared off in the AFC Championship Game twice, with New England winning 23-20 in 2011 and Baltimore prevailing 28-13 the following season.

Joint practices have become trendy around the league. The Patriots are also having combined sessions with the Redskins this summer. Last year and in 2012, the Pats practiced against the Buccaneers leading up to a preseason game.

The Eagles never had joint practices in Andy Reid’s 14 seasons. Before last year, the hadn’t practiced against another team in the preseason since working out with the Bills in 1998.

Williams said the game intensity is lost when teams practice against each other leading up.

“I like the mystery, you know what I mean?” he said. “I used to like the mystery, where you just come into camp, you do your camp, you go against those other guys and you get that itch to go hit some other guys. When you’re practicing against other guys, other teams early on, you don’t get that itch. That itch is gone.

“And then there’s certain things in practice [last year] that I didn’t agree with that went down, so I know it’s going to be the same thing this year. To me, I didn’t see how we benefited from that practice at all. And maybe it’s because I do not like the Patriots.”

Training camp is a week old, and this marks the third time Williams has sounded off about a certain topic. First, he said he likes to see fights in camp. Then, he explained why he should be considered one of the league's elite cornerbacks.

This is all somewhat surprising because in the spring, he said wouldn't be as outspoken as he was last year.

"I don't think I'm going to change much, but I think I'll be [wiser] with what I have to say," Williams said in April. "I'll be a little bit [smarter] before I react and talk a lot more."

Never change, Cary.

Stay or Go Part 8: Ryan Mathews to Steven Means

Stay or Go Part 8: Ryan Mathews to Steven Means

In the eighth of our 12-part offseason series examining the future of the Eagles, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro give their opinions on who will be and who won't be on the roster in 2017. We go alphabetically — Part 8 is Mathews to Means.

Ryan Mathews
Cap hit: $5M

Roob: The Eagles have to get better, younger, faster, healthier, more durable and more reliable at running back. I love the way Mathews runs when he’s healthy. The guy runs hard and he runs physical and he runs aggressive. Then he always gets hurt. Mathews actually has the third-highest per-carry average among running backs in Eagles history, but they just can’t rely on him anymore. How can you count on a running back who misses significant time every year? Time to move on. Factor in the cap savings — $4 million if the Eagles release him — and it’s a no-brainer.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: The Eagles can save $4 million in cap room to cut the running back who needed serious neck surgery after his season was ended in the Giants game. Mathews played pretty well in his two seasons with the Eagles, but, as has been the case during his career, health was an issue. And now he’s 29 and will turn 30 early into next season. Time to move on. 

Verdict: GOES

Jordan Matthews
Cap hit: $1.57M

Roob: Matthews is going into Year 4 and I’d still like to see him make a jump and become a 1,200-yard type of receiver. Maybe it will happen with another year under his belt with Carson Wentz. Matthews has the 11th-most catches in NFL history by a player in his first three seasons — 225, or 75 per year — but his 2,673 yards are 50th most. Matthews is as hard a worker and as committed a player as you’ll see. He'll get the most out of his ability. I’d just like to see him take his game up one more level, and I think he will.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: It’s a shame the Eagles don’t have any legitimate threats at their outside receiver positions, because if they did, so much of the burden wouldn’t fall on Matthews. No, he’s not a great receiver, but he’s a very good one who has been solid in his first three years in the league. In his first three seasons, Matthews has 225 catches for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. There have been just 10 receivers in the league to put up those numbers or better: Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr., DeAndre Hopkins, Emmanuel Sanders, Doug Baldwin, Mike Evans, Randall Cobb and Brandon Marshall. Matthews isn’t going anywhere and it’s time to think about an extension. 

Verdict: STAYS

Alex McCalister
Cap hit: $557K

Roob: McCalister, a seventh-round defensive end, spent the year on injured reserve but considering the Eagles’ lack of pass-rush potency, he’ll definitely get a look this summer. McCalister had 17½ sacks at Florida, so he’s got that going for him. Still a long shot.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: This is tough because McCalister was a seventh-round draft pick who was placed on IR with a injury that didn’t appear to be serious. The last year was a redshirt season for the defensive end who has some pass-rush ability but needed to work on packing more muscle onto his frame. Haven’t seen enough to think he sticks. 

Verdict: GOES

Leodis McKelvin
Cap hit: $3.45M

Roob: The Eagles have to do better than McKelvin. He made a few plays, gave up a lot more, and as far as I’m concerned, the Eagles should hang onto Jalen Mills and get rid of all their other corners. Not to mention the $3.2 million in cap savings the Eagles would gain if McKelvin is released. See ya.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: The Eagles can save $3.2 million by cutting McKelvin, which will probably happen. If it doesn’t, it’ll be because the Eagles think his lingering hamstring issue played a big role in his play and because defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz goes to bat for him. Ultimately, I think McKelvin’s days in Philly are over. 

Verdict: GOES

Rodney McLeod
Cap hit: $5.6M

Roob: McLeod played really well most of the season, tailed off the last few weeks, and goes into next year a question mark because of that inconsistency. When he’s right, McLeod is a sure tackler, willing run supporter, big hitter and capable in coverage. But those last few weeks raised some eyebrows. There were times you just wondered what he was doing out there. If the Eagles can have the first-10-games McLeod for a full season, they’re fine. But he has to be consistent. He’ll be here through 2017 but after that is anybody’s guess. Another mixed year will likely spell the end here for McLeod.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: There were a few plays that showed questionable effort from McLeod this season, which was shocking based on his past. He was an undrafted rookie who worked his way into the league and into a contract with the Eagles. This ended up being a pretty good signing; he had a nice season. He’s under contract through 2020 and the Eagles hope he hasn’t yet fulfilled his potential. He and Malcolm Jenkins should only get better after more time playing together. 

Verdict: STAYS

Steven Means
Cap hit: $690K

Roob: Means, a veteran journeyman defensive end, played only 36 snaps all year. He did pick up one sack against the Vikings, but as far as his future? Most likely, he won’t be back.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: Means did everything in his power last training camp to make the 2016 roster. He flashed every day and in the preseason games. But in 2016, he didn’t get to play very much and was clearly buried on the depth chart behind Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Marcus Smith. The Eagles need to upgrade at the defensive end spot, which might be bad news for Means if more bodies come in. But for now, he's a good depth piece. 

Verdict: STAYS

It's official: Eagles reach terms with WRs coach Mike Groh

It's official: Eagles reach terms with WRs coach Mike Groh

The Eagles' only vacant coaching position has been filled.

On Monday afternoon the team announced that it had reached terms with Mike Groh to be the new receivers coach.

“We are excited to add Mike Groh to our coaching staff," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said in a release from the team. "Mike brings with him a vast array of experience coaching wide receivers in the NFL and college. Over his career, he has demonstrated a great ability as a teacher and as a motivator and we look forward to him getting started in Philadelphia.” 

Earlier this month, after the receivers had a disappointing season, the team fired first-year receivers coach Greg Lewis and have been searching for his replacement. In addition to interviewing Groh, the team also interviewed Bills receivers coach Sanjay Lal.

While Lewis was an NFL position coach for the first time in 2016, Groh has a little more experience at the NFL level. Groh, 45, spent 2016 with the Rams as their receivers coach and passing game coordinator after three years with the Chicago Bears as their receivers coach.

Lewis was the only position coached fired after Pederson's first NFL season. The team finished 7-9 after a 3-0 start.

Groh was seemingly available because of the head coaching change in Los Angeles.

Before he made it to the NFL as a receivers coach with the Bears, Groh had a long coaching career at the college level. He rose to the level of offensive coordinator at Virginia under his father Al, who was the Cavaliers' long-time head coach.

Mike Groh's first coaching job came with the Jets in 2000, when his father had a one-year stint as their head coach.

Mike Groh was once a quarterback at Virginia before his father ever coached there.

While the Eagles' receivers wildly underperformed in 2016, Groh has coached two of the top free agents at the position: Alshon Jeffery and Kenny Britt.

The Eagles' coaching staff will be in Mobile, Alabama this week to get a closer look at some top draft prospects, among them will be several talented receivers.