Detroit Lions not panicking over Jameson Williams
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions finally saw the playmaking of rookie receiver Jameson Williams resurface in Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bears, as the No. 12 pick took a double reverse for 40 yards on Detroit’s touchdown drive to open the second half.
Earlier in the game, though, he also showed that there’s still plenty of room to grow before he becomes the dependable playmaker the Lions are hoping they drafted. Jared Goff targeted Williams on a ball that was slightly behind him, but Williams got both hands on it before it fell to the turf.
Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson — who classified the play as a drop — said Williams is taking longer to get going than he would have liked, but he’s not pressing the panic button on the first-year Alabama talent just yet.
“For us, we still label it as a drop,” Johnson said. “Any time it touches one of our pass catchers — we have high standards in that, so I know Jamo wishes he wold have caught it. And then Jared needs to put that ball out in front, so it’s a two-way street there, but no, we really don’t have concerns with drops or anything.”
“It’s been — I hoped it would click just a little bit faster than it has, you know? I think we all have. But that’s — it takes time sometimes. We’re not losing faith and we’re gonna keep pressing it, and it’ll end up clicking at some point. He’ll have a big game and it’ll be like, ‘OK, that’s why. That’s why we took him. That’s why he can help us so much.”
In five games, Williams has been targeted eight times. He caught just one of those passes, the 41-yard touchdown against Minnesota. Some of those throws have missed the target — such is life as a deep threat — and others have fallen at his feet, without any indication as to who was at fault for the lack of execution.
The Lions would love for Williams to already have showed the dynamism he did in college, but are aware of the fact that he joined the team midseason and is still developing his NFL toolbag. That the Lions found a way to get the ball in Williams’ hands without throwing it to him should be an indication of where they value that part — “speed in space” — of his game right now.
“Each week, we’re trying to push the envelope a little bit, maybe learn a couple different routes that he hasn’t been taught yet, or put him in a little different spot,” Johnson said. “So yeah, each week, we’re trying to do that, and it’s just, how fast can we get along feeling comfortable with it?”