The bottom of an NFL roster is like the medicine you forgot about until you are ill and in need of a rapid cure.
The Panthers defense was sick last week and taking on water (literally and figuratively).
The cure the Panthers devised speaks volumes about the nature of the NFL. Williams and Williams may sound like a law firm, but their namesakes -
It was not a surprise that
That they all performed well enough to help hold the Jaguars to 257 yards and one touchdown calls for compliments on several fronts.
First, to the players themselves for being ready when called upon. Second, to the coaches who prepared them. And third to general manager Marty Hurney, director of pro scouting Mark Koncz and the pro scouts for seeing something in them when others didn't.
Thomas Williams' career has stretched up and down the East Coast like U.S. Route 1. A fifth-round draft pick in 2008, he had already been waived by four teams - Jacksonville, Buffalo, New England and Seattle - before signing with Carolina last December. Sunday, it was Williams who deflected the pass to ensure Carolina's victory against the team that drafted him.
Jason Williams came to the Panthers as a waiver claim in the dark days of November as a forgettable season was winding down. Starting for Davis, he finished second to Anderson as the Panthers' leading tackler against Jacksonville.
Butler, like the Williamses, is a reclamation project, having been claimed off waivers from New England after the preseason. He brought the pedigree of a second-round draft choice, but not enough performance to stay in New England.
Unsung players who found their way to the Panthers with no fanfare proved to be just the right medicine.
Director of Communications Charlie Dayton has worked 34 years in the NFL. Before joining the Panthers in 1994, he was VP of Communications for the Washington Redskins. Dayton has worked on the NFL media staff for 25 Super Bowls, is a past winner of the Horrigan Award and was recently recognized with the National Association of Black Journalists Merit Award.