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Aaron Williams fully aware he needs to perform better

By Tim Graham

WilliamsAaronI've been around enough locker rooms to know one of the least enjoyable moments for any athlete is when a reporter approaches to ask questions about poor performance.

This afternoon had to be one of those times for Buffalo Bills cornerback Aaron Williams. Last year's 34th overall draft choice has struggled in coverage all year, and according to he's responsible for allowing the most passing touchdowns in the NFL.

I caught Williams after practice in the Bills' field house for a story that will run in Friday's edition of The Buffalo News.

He was impressive, handling some tough questions in such a straightforward-yet-philosophic manner. He's taking heat on social media and doesn't deny it hurts. He's also not in denial about his lackluster play.

Buffalo News: How do you think your season has gone so far?

Aaron Williams: I'm still here [laughing]. So it couldn't be any better.

BN: What are your thoughts on splitting snaps with Terrence McGee and not being able to assert yourself as the left cornerback?

AW: Whatever's going to help the team to get a win. Coaches know what decisions need to be made, and if they feel like I haven't been productive and I need to split time, if they feel the need for someone else to start besides me, then that's the way it needs to be. I'm not going to complain about it. I'm not a selfish player. It just lets me know I need to work harder.

BN: How would you evaluate your play so far?

AW: I take it day by day. I try not to let the past tread on my future. I know the last few weeks have been rough for me, but it's part of the NFL, man. Those guys are pros, too. They're going to make plays. Nobody's going to be perfect. It's a learning experience.

BN: How do you deal with the disappointments?

AW: I get away from football when stuff like that happens. The great thing about social media is people like to say things behind their computers. I try to stay off that. It's hard because I'm young, and I have to learn that sometimes you don't have to read that stuff. The best thing to do is stay away from any [comments] about what happens on the field or what I do.

BN: That's a difficult balance when you're in a profession that gets publicly criticized. You're supposed to act like you're above the criticism or that you're totally oblivious to it, but you're a human being. How do you deal with all that?

AW: There are times when people ask if it bothers me, and, of course, I'm going to say "No." Obviously, it does bother me because I am human. You don't want to let anybody down. But at the same time you're not going to make everybody happy. So you really have to focus on yourself. One of the things I'm learning this year is to focus on myself and not try to please everybody.

BN: says no NFL cornerback has given up more touchdowns than you. They have you down for five. How does that register with you?

AW: I heard about that stat. It got me down for a little bit. But the only stat to worry about is wins and losses. As long as we get wins, that's fine with me.

You move on to the next week. Those five touchdowns can't come back in the future. It's in the stat book. It is what it is. You learn from it. Things are going to happen. I don't know any cornerback that hasn't been scored on in the NFL. [Darrelle] Revis has been scored on plenty of times.

So when you're not used to getting scored on you try to figure out what's wrong. You get frustrated. But at the same time you've got to realize this is the top level. You need to improve your art.

BN: That sounds like an extension of that cornerback's short-memory philosophy about forgetting the last play. You forget about the last series. You forget about the last game.

AW: Once a play's over with, forget about that play. Once a game's over with, forget about that game. Once whatever team you're playing with is over with, it's time to concentrate on your new team.

It's a moving cycle. Life goes on no matter how bad or how good it is.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |