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Tyrell Williams Part 2: Defending Different Drops

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San Diego Chargers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When I did this a couple weeks ago with Mike Williams, I mentioned that there are 3 different types of drops. Contested drops are going to happen. Focus drops you can forgive. But it’s the technique drops that lead to bad things. Namely, turnovers. Tyrell Williams had some horrendous drops last season. If he’s going to scratch his potential, he’ll need to improve how he attacks the ball. Prior to week 17, he had 5 drops over the last 5 weeks. That’s not acceptable. Especially when a team is relying on you in a big way. Let’s get into some Williams and his technique.

3rd down drops

Not all drops are equal. The ones that sting the most are the passes players drop that can keep drives alive. I was at this game below and this had "big play” written all over it. The Chargers get the look they want. Williams beats the corner across the middle. There’s nobody within 15 yards of him.

While it appears like this is a focus drop, it’s not. Williams' hands are backward. It should be his index fingers and his thumbs facing the ball not his pinky and ring fingers. Doesn’t seem like much but I promise you this makes a big difference. You’ll never see Keenan Allen catching a ball like this. Ever. That 2nd to last step right before he goes to catch the ball is a false one as well. He needs to just run through the ball and no slow up. The Colts would go on to score a touchdown on the ensuing drive and go up 10-0.

These are tough to fix because it’s muscle memory. You practice this hundreds of times over and over. With Williams, this is clearly something he’s always done.

This next play was the team's bread & butter on 3rd & medium. It was a good play for them. It would be trips and the 2 inside receivers would run off and Tyrell would beeline towards the middle linebacker. This is simply him running before he has it. These are the drops that happen.

There’s a chance he picks up the 1st. Not too likely. Even with it being 3rd down, this is much more forgivable. Just running before he has it.

Tyrell and the turnovers

Philip Rivers had 7 interceptions when throwing to Williams. Seven. He had another but it was called back for a penalty. I’d pin most of them on Williams. Somewhere back-breakers and at the worst possible time.

This one against Denver, a historically good passing defense, is a tough watch. I don’t know how he dropped this. His hands were facing the correct way. He looks it all the way in. You can tell as his helmet rises with the ball.

I suppose you can say he needs to get his hands up sooner and not let the ball in on him. That’s fair. But man, just catch the call. This went for a touchdown. It wasn’t the only drop Williams had that did.

This is on Rivers for staring down the throw. This is on Williams for not finishing his route. Again, worst possible times. Driving on a potential game-winning drive. It’s 1st down. Then this happens.

This isn’t a drop. This is certainly situational awareness. Williams absolutely can’t stop running there. He has to break that up. He had a play against the Panthers where his effort was just not where it needed to be.

Don’t worry, there are more drops.

We haven’t gotten a contested drop yet. I’d file this under contested as well as technique. Getting back to Williams and his lack of situational awareness, he needs to know that there’s likely going to be a defender on his back here. Watch his hands. Notice something?

They’re backward again. If you’re going to let the ball into your pads, that’s fine. Many great receivers do. The difference is they attack the ball so they shield the defender. Here, Williams waits. A double negative. Him not extending allows the corner to have a bigger impact than he actually should on this play. While it seems like the corner made a good play and even might have interfered, this could’ve all been taken care of if Williams ironed out a few details in his technique. It goes back to the muscle memory.

There were 2 other interceptions his way that came at the end of games on 4th and forever. There was another that wasn’t his fault in the end zone where Rivers just made up his mind. How do we react to this? Do we give Williams a pass since it’s his “rookie” season? Or do the consistencies from year one tell us that this is who Tyrell is as a player?

As I mentioned, not all drops are equal. The problem is Williams drops have shown to be catastrophic in one way or another. Where do you stand with Tyrell and his drops?