Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams has had a phenomenal season thus far. With stud D’Andre Swift struggling with injuries, Williams has been able to leap forward and be the go-to guy for the Lions.
Through eight games, Williams has produced 545 yards on 126 carries, tallying eight rushing touchdowns. That’s only 56 yards short of his total rushing yards last season, which is the most in his career. It’s no doubt Williams is having the best season of his career. Head Coach Dan Campbell says it’s no surprise to the coaches.
“He’s exactly what I thought he’d be, and I mean that in a good way. Like I love dependability, I love to know what a player brings to the table, like he is one of our most consistent players week in and week out. Like you know exactly what you’re going to get out of him, you know exactly what he’s going to do for you, the production in the run game. You know how he’s going to protect, you know that in the pass game, the check down. He’s going to be exactly where he’s supposed to be. He’s as steady as they come, so he’s been a solid force for us, man. I’m glad we got him.”
Road to 1,000
Williams is well on pace to hit 1,000 rushing yards this year. It’s an accomplishment that is very special to a running back. Running backs coach Duce Staley reflected on hitting his first 1,000-yard mark on Friday.
“It would mean the world. I know that. I remember when I got my first 1,000, man, it was just like, ‘Wow.’ And then one of my linemen during the time broke it down, he was like, ‘Well –’ and I’m paraphrasing, he was like, ‘You’ve only got to get sixty yards a game.’ And I was like, ‘What the (explicit).’ I said a couple colorful things. ‘You block.’”
Jamaal Williams’ strength is no joke. He is consistently able to push through several players for a gain of a few more yards. He has been the go-to guy on third-and-short to pick up those extra yards or rush in for a touchdown that’s a yard or two away. Offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson says Williams is a model on offense.
“Yeah, I think since we got him even a year ago, he’s been the model of consistency for us offensively. He runs hard. It might not be flashy or sexy all the time, but he finds a way to always be falling forward when he’s being tackled. He’ll find creases. He’s got great vision, and he’s shown the ability to break tackles and potentially have some explosive runs for us too. So, minus the one game, the Dallas game. I mean he has been exactly what we want from a physical, downhill running back. He’s really embraced that role and especially with (Lions RB D’Andre Swift) Swifty being dinged up here and there, he’s been able to take on a greater workload, and it’s been a great thing for us offensively.”
The sixth-year veteran is extremely well-liked by coaches and players in the organization. Every time his name comes up, he’s talked about very highly. Coach Staley had nothing but great things to say about Williams’ attitude and reliability.
“It’s funny because Jamaal is the same every day, like he comes in this building, man, he has juice. He has energy. He’s the same in my room, he’s the same in the cafeteria, he’s the same walking to the parking lot. So I say that to say this, you’ll never know if anything’s wrong with him as far as if he’s hurting a little bit… So, playing the position, knowing the position, I’ll go up to him and say, ‘Hey man, alright, you take one play off.’ Oh, he hates it. He doesn’t want to do it. Or I’ll go up to him and say, ‘Alright man, this period, I’m going to pull you back two or three plays.’ I think now that he knows me a little bit, he’s getting used to it, but it definitely in the beginning was a little struggle.”
The Detroit Lions head to Soldier Field for their Week 10 matchup with the Chicago Bears this Sunday.
Maddy Miller – Detroit Lions Beat Reporter
On Twitter: @madelynvmillerr
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