March 11 3:11PM PT
ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent Defensive Tackle Dan Williams, the club announced Wednesday.
Williams joins Oakland following a five-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals, where he played in 70 games with 40 starts. He totaled 116 tackles (63 solo), two sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception and seven passes defensed.
Last season, the 6-foot-3, 315-pounder played in a career-high 16 games and started nine contests, setting a career high with 45 tackles as the Cardinals made the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
The Memphis, Tenn., native was originally selected by Arizona in the first round (26th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Tennessee. Williams started 32-of-45 games for the Volunteers and recorded 160 tackles and seven sacks. As a senior in 2009, he earned Associated Press All-SEC first-team honors after recording 70 tackles.
Dan Williams signed a 4 year / $25,000,000 contract with the Oakland Raiders, including $15,200,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $6,250,000.
The Oakland Raiders Media Conference Call Q & A
Q: You have a reputation as a guy who stops the run and you’re coming to a team that hasn’t been in the top half of the NFL in defending the run in more than 10 years. Is that your understanding of why they want you here?
Williams: “Well, not only for that, but to also help push the pocket a little bit more and try to get pressure on the quarterback also. I sometimes think that you can’t always justify how much pressure you get to the quarterback. A lot of times I did put pressure on the quarterback, but he just threw the ball before I got there or it was an incomplete pass. They definitely said they want me to push the pocket, but definitely we need to stop the run and just try to make the team more dimensional.”
Q: Is it correct that you were primarily a nose in the 3-4 in Arizona?
Williams: “Yeah. That’s how they used me, but a little bit last year, I moved around. I played some three-technique inside, sometimes outside, five-technique depending on who is playing and what front we were in. I think towards, especially last year, I got to show off a little bit more of my versatility and I just couldn’t be just a regular two-gap nose tackle.”
Q: What was it about the Raiders that attracted you to come here?
Williams: “I came here yesterday, I got to meet the coaches. I got to meet the G.M. Reggie McKenzie, the head coach Jack Del Rio and the defensive coaches, they really factored into my decision. Just talking to them and the way that they believe they can turn the team around. The biggest thing is it kind of reminded me how when [Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians first got there in Arizona two years ago, excited, they believe in the players that they have here and the players they are going to add. They believe we can turn this thing around and we can do it in a hurry. Once I got to sit down and talk to defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. and defensive line coach Jethro Franklin, that was pretty much the biggest factor in my decision. I think it will be a really good fit for myself and also I think I can definitely help out the Raiders, help turn things around.”
Q: When did this all come together?
Williams: “It was yesterday. I came in, my agent, I just told him what I like and he just told me in his opinion he just thought that my first visit should be to the Raiders. He told me that probably with the things that I told him I was looking for, he told me to just take my first visit out here. I came out here yesterday and met the coaches and like I said before, met everybody, even got a chance to meet Justin Tuck and today I got to meet Charles Woodson. Meeting those guys and those guys have won Super Bowls and reading their energy and dedication and how much they really want to turn things around in Oakland. Today, I just decided, I definitely want to be a part of this.”
Q: How big of a deal is that when guys like Charles Woodson and Justin Tuck are telling you that they want you on their team?
Williams: “A lot. Those guys won World Championships. From being on a different team, guys of that caliber, you obviously respect their game. When a guy has a ring on his finger, he definitely has done something and has been through things that I have never done. You always are ready to listen to someone who has been somewhere where you want to be. I know some other players too, of course Ricky Lumpkin, he played here last year and we were really close, I met him in Arizona. I got to meet a few more players here today, just out here working out. I just thought that I feel like I can fit in in the locker room here.”
Q: What did you learn from your experience in Arizona that you can bring to the Raiders?
Williams: “I think the biggest thing is the fact that I can now speak on how things can turn around quickly the quicker that you buy into the coaching system. The year before we were 5-11 and then B.A. Arians came in and he had those guys come in and everybody started believing and buying into what they were trying to do. We switched around from being 5-11 to 10-6. Last year we improved to even better, 11-5, and made it to the playoffs. A lot depends on buying in and just seeing if everyone does it we can definitely have great results. If we ever have an issue like that, I can probably, from experience, speak on that because I’ve seen what has happened when a new head coach comes in and everyone buys in. It doesn’t have to be a rebuilding year or we only one two games last year, let’s win five. We’ve got a new coach, we’ve got new people, a new system, let’s win right away instead of waiting two or three years or something. Just trying to change the mindset a little bit and just trying to get off to a good start.”