Taking A Look At Vince Williams’ First Career Start

By Matthew Marczi

Although Vince Williams had somewhat of a rocky game against the Minnesota Vikings, it is fair to point out that it was, of course, his first career start, and just the third game of his career (he was inactive in the season opener).

Since that last game, Williams has been officially upgraded as the starter over Kion Wilson, who was of course recently released in order to re-sign former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Stevenson Sylvester. Despite Sylvester returning, it is not currently expected that he is in discussions to battle for much if any playing time on defense.

Given that Williams has been officially anointed the starter, it is worth taking a look at how he fared in the first start of his career.

Many have pointed to Williams being the culprit in allowing Adrian Peterson’s 60-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. It is not quite so simple as that; in fact, I find it difficult to determine just how much blame to assign.


Looking at the play, it seems to me that Williams felt his responsibility was the B Gap, but the right tackle pushed Ziggy Hood into his way. Williams was unable to recover in time to make much of a play on Peterson, but Ike Taylor and Lawrence Timmons followed up with missed tackles to turn it into an explosive play.

Was Williams confused on his assignment here or was his gap closed by Hood’s ineffectiveness on the play? Well, Williams was named a starter while Hood was demoted in the interim, so take that as you will.

Later on in the second quarter, he continued to show some of his best traits, at least from my observation, those being his ability to flow to the ball and to shed blockers. The former was expected when he was drafted, but I’ve seen more of the latter from him than I anticipated.


On the play, he reads and reacts quickly, following the flow of the play to his left. Polamalu is the first to slow him down, but after disposing of the tight end that attempts to block him, it is Williams who gets the primary tackle.


Later on during the same drive, he shows some quickness to get past Greg Jennings’ block attempt (which admittedly is not much), and with Polamalu taking out the fullback, is able to penetrate and bring Peterson down from behind after a short gain. He also shows some lateral explosiveness as he goes in for the tackle.

As mentioned, however, his game was not perfectly clean, as the following show illustrates.


There is no beating around the bush, no excuse to make up for this one. This is a flat-out whiff. He does everything right here short of actually making the play. At the time, the score was 20-17 in favor of the Vikings, and the down and distance was third and one. Had Williams made the play, the Vikings would have been forced to kick a field goal. Instead, Peterson scored on the next play, untouched, to make it a two-possession game.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    He’s a rookie making rookie mistakes but his time on the field bodes well for his development. Lets look at his play at years end and see how he’s progressed. I for one can live with his errors so long as he shows improvement week to week.

  • Fritz Baughman

    After viewing these game clips, one thing is for certain: Ziggy Hood is just plain awful.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    LOL…I noticed that too.

  • dennisdoubleday

    Also, Peterson makes a lot of people miss.

  • Apexsimba

    Far be it from me to condemn anyone for missing a tackle on AP. Let alone a rookie.


    Isolate on Ziggy Hood in the first GIF. He gets pancaked by a lone Tackle. In the second GIF, isolate on Brett Keisel a few times and watch his motor. Then isolate on McLendon and watch his speed and tenacity all the way to making the tackle. Then watch Ziggy. Slower than Casey Hampton and easily beat. I would say the only hope for his career is to try to learn the NT position, but he is so easily moved aside.

  • charles

    On the AP run it is Woodley who completely whiffs on the tackle.

  • Dr. Doom

    Ziggy needs to go back to comic strips.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Big strong woodley gets sealed way to easily by TE. Needs to shove TE into that giant whole and still maintain edge. No effort.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Play 1: Ziggy gets mauled to ground by LT, Woodley is dancing with TE, two huge holes for Williams to cover, Williams leans into the inside hole and AP is gone. Probably should have leaned more to the outside. Maybe leaned into the hole or maybe shied away from block from WR who cleans up Troy. I’ll give him a pass on this play.

    Play 2: Willimas flows OK, letting Polamalu play LB, comes off a weak ass block from TE to clean up tackle after 5.5 yard gain…nothing special at all.

    On play 3 Pola takes on FB, Williams can drop AP for a loss but is very slow to react. AP is actually by him and stalls up against a pile of tacklers allowing Williams, unblocked, to make an arm tackle.

    Play 4: Again unblocked, complete whiff 🙁

    When this dude makes a good play, let me know. More importantly, if Pola is going to play LB, why doesn’t Williams hit the hole and let Pola make the tackle? I see Ike and Troy throwing their little-ish bodies into blockers more than our pussy linebackers. LB play on this team is disgraceful, weak, timid, slow, disgraceful, sad, disgraceful (did I say that one?)

  • Steve

    Ziggy need to take a week off and let Heyward play. The right OT made Ziggy look very weak on numerous plays, no wonder he lost his job. On the 3rd GIF Mac took on a double team, he played well. On 2nd GIF Mac was in on the tackle.