If Monday’s training camp display from Detroit Lions’ wide receiver Jameson Williams had been a regular season game, criticisms might be justified. The stat line would have shown a few dropped passes, scant yards receiving, and a penalty for instigating a fight with a defending cornerback.
But let’s get one thing straight – Monday was a practice day, the 8th day of the Lions training camp, and the first day in pads for this 2nd year wide receiver. Williams has been on a restricted regimen due to a minor lower-body injury, about which the coaching staff has no concerns.
The Real Jameson Williams
Doubtlessly, I stand in the minority here, but Jameson Williams impressed me today. He reminded me of an over-eager kid thrilled to be out on the field again. His energy was unconstrained while attempting to turn every little play into a big one. He looked like a football player who loves the game and had just received his first chance to suit up in pads since the end of the 2022 season.
That energy might have seemed erratic at times, but a closer look reveals much more.
Williams’ route running looked vastly improved even since Spring practice 6 weeks ago. His quickness and elite ability to change directions are well-known, but his improved physicality at the line of scrimmage and mid-route are noteworthy. Williams welcomes contact, and defensive backs will surely fear him if he can get even an inch of space to get into his full stride.
One of his standout moments came during full team 11 on 11’s when Williams ran a flawless inside-out route on veteran cornerback Cam Sutton. Although a referee might have ruled his toe-tapping catch out-of-bounds, Williams’ contested catch on an elite cornerback was impressive. In seven-on-seven red zone drills, he shook star safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson with an elite shimmy, creating a wide-open target in the back of the endzone. Quarterback Jared Goff hit Jamo for an easy six points.
Going Beyond the Drops
Yes, Williams did drop 3 or 4 passes. Yet, one of these “drops” was a tightly contested, diving catch across the middle of the field in traffic. The fact that Williams was ready to put his body on the line is worth noting.
Moreover, Williams’ blocking and willingness to engage with defenders in the run game were eye-opening. The crowd went wild on a play where his aggressive block helped running back Jahmyr Gibbs extend a play an extra 20-30 yards downfield. As Williams put it after practice, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson’s motto is “No block, no rock.”
Williams wants the rock and is willing to block for it.
Scuffles and Brotherhood
Several national outlets have been quick to criticize Jameson Williams for his involvement in a few on-field scuffles during practice. The most noticeable incident involved a confrontation with Starling Thomas, who was a pest to all wide receivers on Monday. The two had to be separated by teammates and coaches.
After practice, Williams shared his thoughts on these incidents, saying, “It’s football. We know we can’t do that in a game, it’s 15 yards…it’s just practice, though. Things get rowdy and things happen. But we talked it out, we’re good.”
When a separate scuffle broke out between fellow wide receiver Trinity Benson and cornerback Will Harris, Williams was the first offensive teammate to rush over in support.
Rather than seeing these confrontations as a lack of control or a sign of immaturity, I see it as a reflection of Williams’ passion and his hunger for the game.
Don’t Worry about Jamo
Critics might be tearing down Williams, but at Monday’s practice, I witnessed more than just dropped balls and scuffles. I saw a young player brimming with potential, committed to improving and backing his team.
Lions veteran safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson sums it up perfectly, saying, “He’s one of the best receivers in the game right now… Jamo’s ready. Don’t worry about him. He ready.”
So, instead of fretting over a single practice, let’s recognize the future potential in Jameson Williams as star wide receiver for the Detroit Lions.
To all the critics out there: Don’t worry about Jamo.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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Original Photo Credit: © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK