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When opportunity knocked, Stephen Williams and Winston Guy answered
When you’re playing for a spot on the 53-man roster, every play counts.
Stephen Williams and Winston Guy not only made standout plays in the Seahawks’ 17-10 preseason victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Friday night, they made them when it counted most.
For Williams, a 6-foot-5 wide receiver who was signed to a future contract in January, that included a catching a 42-yard touchdown pass from Brady Quinn for what proved to be the game-winner in the fourth quarter, and also a 16-yard catch-and-run on a third-and-16 play on the drive to the Seahawks’ other touchdown in the third quarter.
For Guy, a hard-hitting safety who was selected in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft but played in only two games during his rookie season, that included a fumble-forcing hit on tight end Jake Stoneburner at the Seahawks’ 13-yard line as the Packers were driving for what could have been a game-tying TD.
Without their combined efforts on Friday night, the Seahawks likely would not be riding a franchise-record eight-game preseason winning streak entering Thursday night’s finale against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field.
Without their continuing efforts this summer, it’s possible neither would have become such large factors as the club contemplates its roster cuts from 90 players to 75 by Tuesday and then to 53 next Saturday.
As coach Pete Carroll said after Friday night’s game, “Stephen Williams has really made a big statement for himself in trying to be part of this football team. … Winston is a big-play guy. He can do everything we’re asking a guy to do – he can cover, he tackles well and he is a big hitter, too.”
For Williams, his efforts against the Packers were just a continuation of what has been a sizzling summer. He also caught a 42-yard touchdown pass, as well as a 41-yarder to setup another score, in the preseason-opening 31-10 victory against the Chargers in San Diego. Last week, in a 40-10 romp over the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field, he added a 38-yard TD catch.
In three games, he’s not only the team’s leading receiver with six receptions, Williams is averaging 31 yards on those catches.
Williams not only has the size Carroll likes at the split end position, he has the speed to be an obvious downfield threat. Both are huge factors at the position where there’s already Golden Tate and Sidney Rice, the starters; Doug Baldwin, the slot receiver; and Jermaine Kearse, who is playing himself into an even larger role in his second season with the Seahawks. That leaves a roster spot, or possibly two, for the other nine receivers on the 90-man roster.
“I’m big on deep passes and yards after the catch, that’s something I take pride in,” Williams said, who had one of each against the Packers. “I tell myself every day when I get on the field, ‘Dominate the deep balls.’ ”
That’s exactly what Williams did on his TD catch – his latest TD catch – by reaching over Packers cornerback Loyce Means to snatch a Brady pass that looked like it might be intercepted near the goal line.
“I saw the ball coming and just thought, ‘I can’t let him have this interception,’ ” Williams said. “So I just reached out.”
Then there’s Guy, who’s No. 3 at strong safety behind Kam Chancellor, who played in the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season; and Jeron Johnson, a core special teams player last season. Guy has six tackles in the first three preseason games, and will get ample opportunity to add to that total against the Raiders.
Even more impressive than the ball-separating hit against the Packers was the recognition of what might be coming on the play. Read