The clock has started toward Jameson Williams making his NFL debut, and Lions head coach Dan Campbell has outlined what they need to see before it happens.
It was certainly coming at some point soon, with a debut tabbed to be coming in December, but on Monday Detroit Lions rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams returned to practice as he completes his recovery from a torn left ACL in last year’s college national title game. The Lions now have a 21-day window to add him to the active roster.
Head coach Dan Campbell made his regular appearance on 97.1 The Ticket’s “Stoney and Jansen Show” Tuesday morning. Williams was a natural and obvious topic, and the Lions head coach addressed how it will be known Williams is ready to play.
"Just a comfort level around bodies, his change of direction as it pertains to defensive backs on him, quarterback throwing the ball,” “You just want to know that that’s something he can get used to or accustomed to fast enough.It’s different to do things on grass or on air with nobody else around or in a competitive setting. That’s where we need to get to before we feel real good. And then we want him to feel comfortable with it, too.”"
The Lions anxious to get Jameson Williams on the field, but still won’t rush it
Campbell said Williams started with some simple route-running on Monday, with more to be added to his plate on Tuesday and Wednesday. There is certainly excitement to see him on the field for games, and Campbell couldn’t totally hide it when he spoke to the media on Monday.
"I know this, he can run,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said Monday. “He can run, so — and that’s not hard to do. You either got it or you don’t, and he’s got it. In that regard, he can help.”"
The Lions have until Dec. 12 to take Williams off the non-football injury list. Campbell isn’t sure if he’ll need the entire time or not.
"Yeah, it’s a good question,” Campbell said. “I mean, I think it’s just let’s see where he’s at because really the rehab that he’s done now that even though this is technically not practice if you will it’s more walk-through mode. But the things that he’ll do starting [Monday] out there live are much more football oriented. So, I think we — we’ll just see where he can go and see how fast he can get there.”"
The Lions have played it cautiously with Williams from the beginning. Even as his debut gets ever closer, that mode will not change.