Saturday 5 June 2010

What Happened to Richie Williams?

With training camp officially beginning tomorrow, there will be one player that will not participating be in any team's camp: Richie Williams.

Remember him? Yeah, he was the guy that came in when Casey Printers couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, and from what I remember, he played pretty darn well. I know Williams was well liked in my house, and I imagine the same holds true in other households around Hamilton as well. When the Cats brought in Kevin Glenn last off-season, they decided to part ways with Williams. I understand that move. Glenn is better than Williams, but Williams wasn't bad by any means.

After being released by the Tabbies, Williams crossed provincial lines and signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the 2009 campaign; he didn't last past the first month of the season. Once Michael Bishop arrived in the Peg, Williams was given his walking papers. Hindsight being 20/20, perhaps the Bombers would've been better off releasing the ineffectual Stefan LeFors instead. LeFors was then-coach Mike Kelly's anointed star, and I guess Kelly didn't want to look like a fool (don't laugh) by releasing a player he talked so highly about during the off-season and early part of the 2009 campaign. LeFors was handed the starting QB job and struggled mightily. The terms "sub-par" and "mediocre" would be putting it nicely in regards to LeFors's performance; he was downright awful. Yet despite those struggles, Williams was never once given a chance in Winnipeg; once Bishop came in, Williams was let go.

Williams has disappeared since then. He was not signed by any teams after being released by Winnipeg last July, and he wasn't even given an invite to any team's training camp this season. I find this surprising. Maybe my Black & Gold tinted glasses are making more of Williams than he was, but he looked like a pretty good player to me. Maybe it's easy to look good playing on a terrible team, as the Cats were when Williams played, but he still looked good as far as I am concerned. But I guess it's possible that when the team wins three games all year, and one guy pilots you to one of them (an absolute pounding of the Argos), winning Player of the Week in the process, he ends up looking like a million bucks in the eyes of some of the fans. Even with all that said, I always felt like Williams should have been given a chance to be the guy in Hamilton. If the team has been patient with Quinton Porter (as they should be), I don't see why Williams wasn't given the same consideration.

I can think of two teams off the top of my head that could use Williams: Toronto and Saskatchewan. The Argos don't have one scintilla of CFL experience at the Quarterback position on their roster, and Williams could have been the guy to provide that. The Riders, even with Darian Durant firmly entrenched as the starter, could have used Williams to fill a backup position, but they chose to sign Ryan Dinwiddie instead. Far be it for me to question men whose job it is to evaluate talent, but I don't see how what Dinwiddie has to offer is any better than what Williams does. In fact, Williams was brought in to replace Dinwiddie in Winnipeg, if I'm not mistaken.

With the need for solid QB play higher now than it ever has been, I'm shocked that Richie Williams continues to remain unemployed. Maybe he will find his way back up to Canada this season when a QB inevitably goes down to injury. Whatever team does give him a call will likely be happy they did.

1 comment:

  1. I always liked him too. And I completely understood why we let him go. Not even just because of Glenn, but also because Williams was never going to be a long-term answer at QB, especially now that Better is Better is the Cats' developmental philosophy - we should be employing someone at backup who can legitimately challenge as a starter (or in Glenn's case, take the job when someone else cannot handle it).

    Williams showed some good things but I think the contrast of his play to Printers' embarrassing show made Richie look better than he is. Unorthodox throwing motion aside (and to critics of that I say - "So what? It's the completions that matter") he didn't show he could read a defense very well after a couple seasons learning from the sideline, and it was his feet that helped him make some plays... useful for a QB mind you, but if it's the primary way he gets the job done, over the long term it's not going to work.

    Perhaps that's why other teams have avoided him too, though the Dimwittie signing defies that reasoning.

    Could this also be a case of a player not actively looking for a job? Maybe Richie is on to other things now and not interested in keeping his iron in the CFL fire?