GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Brandon Williams knew what was coming.
So did everyone inside University of Phoenix Stadium. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the Oakland Raiders were going to attack the Arizona Cardinals' rookie cornerback as often as they could during Friday night’s preseason opener.
Even in the preseason, why would they throw toward All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson?
“They want to test me,” Williams said. “See what I got. See what all this buzz is about me, or whatever.”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw to Williams’ side on both of his first-drive passes, including the first play of the game. Backup Matt McGloin continued the barrage on his first throw of the second series. It didn’t stop there.
While Williams knew what was coming, he wasn’t always able to stop it. He struggled keeping pace with both receivers off the line, as they consistently got by the rookie. When passes came over his head, Williams rarely looked back to track the ball.
“(It was) what I expected because I just started playing the position, so I kind of already knew they were going to try to attack me or what not," Williams said. "I think it’s just ups and downs I had.
“Had some good plays, had some bad plays.”
Williams’ task Friday night wasn’t easy by any standard. He guarded both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree on the Raiders’ first drive, two of the better receivers in the NFL. Without the aid of the game film, coach Bruce Arians felt his rookie corner competed “extremely well” and held his own against Cooper.
Throughout that first drive, Williams’ teammates kept on him about forgetting the last play, regardless if it was a good one by him or not.
“As a corner, you have to have a short memory,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “Obviously, they’re not going to throw it to Pat’s side, so you know you’re going in the fire. So I think that’s good for him.”
The main thing Williams noticed Friday night was the speed is faster in games than it is practice. He also learned first-hand the importance of playing within himself.
As he looked across the line of scrimmage in press coverage, he locked eyes with both Crabtree and Cooper. Williams knew they were coming for him. He knew what it meant. And he was ready for it.
“You get that vibe,” Williams said. “(It’s) like, ‘Yeah, OK, let’s get it then.’ It’s all good, though. It’s part of the process.”