A guy who’s been overlooked publicly practically the entire season went home with a game ball Sunday for his performance against the New York Jets.
Carolina Panthers right tackle Daryl Williams, overshadowed somewhat by the addition of Matt Kalil at left tackle, earned a perfect pass protection grade from the coaching staff for his work in the 35-27 victory.
Williams, 25, in his second season as a starter, had an overall grade of 96 percent and was among those who received a game ball.
“He played a solid football game,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Monday. “Very pleased with Daryl’s effort all year and I think this was a culmination in terms of watching the way he played.”
Williams, a fourth-round pick from Oklahoma in 2015, took over last season after Michael Oher’s concussion forced the Panthers to shuffle the line. Though Williams was the incumbent, he was expected to battle rookie Taylor Moton for the starting job.
But that competition never materialized as Williams seized the job during training camp and has stayed healthy.
Rivera said Williams’ reliability has allowed coaches to give more protection help to Kalil, who generally faces the opponent’s best edge rusher.
“Every week you see the consistency,” Rivera said of Williams. “To be able to let Daryl play and not have to always say, ‘We’ve got to help him, too,’ that’s helped us and that’s helped Matt in terms of being able to help Matt out during the game.”