The anticipation of Jameson Williams playing has not bore much fruit yet, but Lions head coach Dan Campbell is attempting to say there’s plan to get the rookie wide receiver more work.
The anticipation for the NFL debut of Jameson Williams was met with the reality he’d be eased back into to action coming off a torn ACL. But four games in, one catch (for a touchdown against the Vikings in Week 14) on 45 total offensive snaps would have been on the low end of expectations looking ahead to this point.
After the Lions’ Week 16 loss to the Carolina Panthers, when he had just one target on Jared Goff’s 42 attempts, Williams liked a post on Twitter calling for him to see the ball more.
During his Monday press conference, head coach Dan Campbell said the plan is to get Williams more targets. During his weekly Tuesday appearance on 97.1 The Ticket, the topic came up and Campbell addressed it more.
After having the mechanics of liking or retweeting explained to him, Campbell dove in (h/t to Ben Raven of MLive).
Dan Campbell tries to keep masses at bay regarding Jameson Williams
On Williams, here’s what Campbell said.
"He comes out, he practices, man, he puts in the work. He’s a work in progress. It’s like anything else. He gets better in practice and sharper in the details and all that. He was a little better this week than last week, and we’re going to get him a couple of plays. We’ll get him a couple more plays this week. He’s coming. It takes work. We just can’t throw him out there and say, ‘you’re taking 65 plays.’ There’s a trust that has to be built. But he’s working through that, and it’s good.”"
No one has ever expected Willliams to be an every-snap player, in any of however many games he played this year. So Campbell going there with a “65 plays” comment is a stretch. Bad field conditions at Carolina on Christmas Eve was probably a factor in Williams seeing just 11 snaps.
It’s also worth noting how well DJ Chark has done lately, with more than 90 yards in three of the last four games. He has become the deep threat he was envisioned to be when he was signed.
So what exactly more reps for Williams will look like is unclear. It can’t get any less than the one target he has seen in three of his four games, lest he see no targets. And any reduction in his snaps invites a question over if he should even play.
It was always a virtual certainty the fully healthy, trusted and acclimated version of Williams would not come until 2023. But at the intersection of ongoing caution and Williams wanting more, we have Campbell saying there’s a plan for the final game or two that’s easy to be skeptical about.