Shanahan not sure if N. Williams will return punts

Shanahan not sure if N. Williams will return punts
November 19, 2013, 1:15 pm
Share This Post

Shanahan one on one: RGIII "has done a good job."

After a shaky debut as the Redskins’ punt returner in Philadelphia, it’s unclear whether Nick Williams will get another shot. 

Coach Mike Shanahan says he intends to evaluate the rookie in practice this week before deciding on a returner for Monday night’s game against the visiting 49ers.

“It looked like he played in his first game,” Shanahan said Monday. "It’s always tough that first game of the season… one of those returns he did have, it was really a knuckleball coming off [the punter’s] foot and it was pretty hard to judge. I’d rather have a guy err on the side of not going after the football, [not] going after the football and turning it over. So we’ll see how he does this week in practice and make a decision again on who is going to be our top 53.”

Williams, an undrafted wide receiver signed last week off the practice squad, was credited with one reception for five yards and reeled in a two-point conversion throw. (Another catch was negated by a penalty).

But he had a mostly forgettable afternoon as a returner.

On his first attempt, he chose not to field the ball near the 10-yard line and the Eagles downed it at the Washington two. On his next attempt, Williams called for fair catch but fumbled it out of bounds.

Then he had another muff in the third quarter when he was forced to turn to make the catch after misjudging it. After dropping the ball, Williams quickly recovered the fumble near the Redskins’ 25-yard line.

[RELATED: Josh Morgan likely to return to Redskins' lineup]

Williams called for a fair catch on the fourth attempt. Then, on the fifth punt, Williams chose not to field the ball near the 20 and instead allowed it to bounce. The result was a 70-yard punt, and the Redskins started their final drive inside their own 4.

“I have to do a better job there,” Williams said after the game. “I misread the one ball [on the fumble]. I just got to learn from it.”

He said he was caught off guard on the last punt.

“We thought it was going to be directional to the other side and he came back and kicked it across the field,” he said. “He kicked the hell out of it. They went against their tendency. So to run up on that is a dangerous play.”  

Williams added: “I would have liked to play better in a few areas. But it was my first time. Got my feet wet. Now it’s time to build on it.”