The Detroit Lions got good news last Friday when the NFL reshaped its gambling policy, as wide receiver Jameson Williams can now play in Week 5 after having his six-game suspension reduced. Of course it's not a guarantee he will play against the Carolina Panthers, and he will surely be on a snap count if he does.
Williams was a natural topic when head coach Dan Campbell spoke to the media on Monday. He alluded to Williams being on a snap count.
"I’m not worried about him working. He will. It’s just about polishing all of the little things,” Campbell said. “We also know if he does play, he can’t play 60 plays. That’s not smart. We can’t do that to him.”
Campbell said they'll take it day-by-day with Williams, which is as expected to see where he is in terms of being ready to play. That opens the door to him not playing against the Panthers, but the more likely scenario is he suits up and plays a little just to simply get him. on the field.
Dan Campbell sets low expectations for Jameson Williams
While it's true that expectations for Williams have to be kept reasonable, there is a comfortable middle ground were he has a ramp up for a game or two before having his role grow. He flashed his potential on his two touches in six games as a rookie last year, but he was inefficient with just one catch on nine targets. Plans to give him extensive action in the preseason were derailed by his hamstring injury.
Campbell set a bar for Williams this year.
"For me, it’s dependability. That’s it. Reliability, dependability, go (get) lined up, know where you’re supposed to be,” Campbell said. “We’re going to get the (right route) depth out of you, and we can count on you being where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there, and that’s it.
“I’m not looking for yards, I’m not looking for explosives, not looking for touchdowns. Man, just be a reliable receiver like any of those guys in the room. That’s it, and to me, that’s a good year. Because we’re about winning. It’s not about one player, and that’ll help us win.”
Williams surely has to build out from the basic base of fundamentals as a receiver before he sees a lot of action. But he shouldn't be all the way back at square one with those things, so that Campbell is citing things like lining up right and running routes properly could be a concern.
Ultimately, Campbell may just be trying to protect Williams from the derision some people will have if he doesn't produce big immediately by setting a low bar of internal expectations. Time will tell if it was a tactic by the head coach, or a legitimate thing that proves itself when Williams gets on the field.