Cardinals cornerback Tramon Williams tackles Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham on Thursday.
It's been a while since No. 2 cornerback wasn't a position of consternation for the Cardinals, but Tramon Williams has settled nicely into the role.
The 11-year veteran played sparingly through the first five games of the season, but had an interception in relief of an injured Patrick Peterson against the Buccaneers and took over Justin Bethel's starting spot in Week 7 against the Rams.
Williams has posted impressive numbers since his playing time increased, allowing only 11-of-23 targets to be completed for 115 yards and zero touchdowns in the past four games, according to Pro Football Focus. In that span, he has five passes defensed in addition to the interception and has allowed an opposing quarterback rating of just 62.8.
"He's the perfect fit opposite Pat right now," coach Bruce Arians said.
Peterson is expected to match up against Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on Sunday in a pivotal battle of stars. Williams will get the assignment of the No. 2 receiver, whether that be Will Fuller – who is doubtful with injured ribs – or Bruce Ellington.
Williams said his mentality is perfect for his role with the Cardinals.
"My thing is, I've always loved to get the ball over my whole career," Williams said. "I like the ball being thrown at me. You've got to understand that regardless, guys are going to catch the ball. But as long as you make your plays, that's when guys are going to stop throwing the ball at you."
Williams may not have the same straight-line speed as Fuller or Ellington but said he's found success by dissecting offensive game-plans and adjusting to combat them.
"I like to mix up the way I play," Williams said. "Sometimes I'm aggressive, sometimes I'm not. You've got to read what the offense is doing, also. It's the game behind the game. It's like playing chess. And that's the way I've always emulated my game, behind playing chess. I'm a thinking man on the field."
READYING FOR BRAXTON MILLER
The Texans' offense looks much different under backup quarterback Tom Savage compared to starter Deshaun Watson. Watson used his mobility to keep defenses off-balance, while Savage is traditional dropback passer.
Even though Watson is done for the season, Arians is still preparing for a dual threat in case Braxton Miller sees time at quarterback. The former Ohio State signal-caller converted to wide receiver near the end of his college career but took a couple snaps behind center in Sunday's loss to the Rams.
Miller handed the ball off once and ran it once for a yard. He didn't attempt a pass. Texans coach Bill O'Brien doesn't sound too keen on using Miller regularly against the Cardinals.
"Just trying to mix it up a little bit," O'Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle. "I just felt like it didn't really help the rhythm of the offense. It wasn't Braxton's fault. It just didn't really help what we were trying to do. It didn't have the effect that I thought it was going to have."
PETERS COULD MISS TEXANS GAME
Defensive lineman Corey Peters missed a second consecutive practice on Wednesday with a high-ankle sprain, which seems likely to shelve him Sunday and possibly longer, Arians said.
Rodney Gunter and Xavier Williams are expected to rotate at nose tackle in Peters' absence. Gunter started as a rookie in 2015 when Peters missed the year with an Achilles injury.
Linebacker Karlos Dansby (not injury related) was the only other Cardinal who didn't practice Wednesday. Quarterback Drew Stanton (knee), wide receiver John Brown (back), tackle John Wetzel (back) and center A.Q. Shipley (shoulder) were limited.
For the Texans, tackle Julien Davenport (shoulder) and linebacker Dylan Cole (hamstring) didn't practice in addition to Fuller. Those limited were linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (knee), cornerback Johnathan Joseph (knee), cornerback Kareem Jackson (shoulder), defensive end Joel Heath (knee), tackle Chris Clark (shoulder) and guard Jeff Allen (hand).
Images from safety Tyrann Mathieu's turkey giveaway, where he partnered with United Food Bank to donate 200 meals to families in need on Tuesday at Stevenson Elementary School in Mesa