FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Marcus Williams went up in the end zone and came down with the interception, just a friendly reminder with four seconds left in the first half of the exhibition opener last week at Detroit that he's still here with the Jets.
"Hopefully, it was pretty important," Williams said. "You want to make plays and to be seen and show that you're out there trying to make the team."
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The Jets signed Williams to the practice squad three weeks into last season, anundrafted rookie free agent cut from the Texans' practice squad. Rex Ryan activated Williams for the second half of the season, throwing him right in as a starting cornerback after all the well-documented trouble the Jets had at the position.
Williams had to learn on the job, but he flashed some potential. Still, new general manager Mike Maccagnan left nothing to chance, going on a cornerback shopping spree, bringing back Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to start and signing Buster Skrine to be the nickel back.
So Williams is trying to stick as part of the supporting cast. And he has been making a positive impression on the new head coach.
"He's in the mix," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "There's still a long way to go. Marcus is very intelligent. He does some great things. He plays zone as well as man. He's an inside and an outside guy. Very heady for a second-year guy. So he's done some good things. I like everything Marcus is doing."
Ryan also liked this 5-11, 196-pound player before trading in Jets green for Buffalo blue.
"Going from a guy that was available to anybody, we put him on our practice squad and then from there we were kind of intrigued by him," Ryan said the day after Christmas. "Let him get up on the varsity, so to speak, and the guy has played well."
Williams set the career interception record at North Dakota State where he became a three-time first-team FCS All-American. He intercepted one pass, broke up seven others and made 38 tackles in his eight Jets games. The influx of corners that followed didn't faze him.
"I thought it would be good for our team," Williams said. "Any time you get to bring some vets in, it's good to learn from those guys. Me being a young player, it's definitely going to help my game out."
Revis Island and Williams Island are two different concepts right now. So there's no finer teacher for Williams than Revis.
"He's very hands-on if you have questions," Williams said. "Or if he sees something out there and he'll definitely come to you and talk about it. He's been a good help."