Did Dan Campbell use a troubling phrase to assess Jameson Williams?

Jameson Williams has a lot of work to do to get to his best level, but did Lions head coach Dan Campbell use a troubling phrase to assess him?

If there's one word that should be attached to Jameson Williams right now, it is patience. A rookie season delayed and impacted by recovery from a torn ACL demands that. Early in this year's training camp, he missed a few days, prompting Lions head coach Dan Campbell to cite the importance of him simply being able to practice.

Williams was indeed "doused" with snaps, as Campbell promised, in Friday night's preseason opener against the New York Giants--seeing the field for 51 plays, with two catches on seven targets. He had a bad drop, but playing with the lackluster Nate Sudfeld did him no favors either.

Williams should get some work with the Lions' starters in the second preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Teddy Bridgewater being on the practice field this coming week and playing some should be helpful to Williams too, as noted by Mike Payton of AtoZSports.

Campbell was broadly optimistic about Williams' performance in the preseason opener, as expected. But a piece of his comments may stir some people up.

Did Dan Campbell use a troubling phrase in assessment of Jameson Williams?

After the "more positives than negatives" broad assessment of what Williams did against the Giants, Campbell pointed to a "total leap" in the young receiver's approach over the last week or so. But, via SI.com, Campbell eventually used an interesting turn of phrase.

"It’s all about getting better and growth and this was step one. Man, he needed this. He didn’t have a preseason last year. He really didn’t," Campbell continued. "I kind of feel like he’s starting from square one. So, this is a step in the right direction. We’ll get him in against Jacksonville and then we’re going to play him again and get him better, but this is a step in the right direction.”"

In some respects Williams is at, or very near, square one in learning the finer points of being a wide receiver. But he played in six games last season, however limitedly, and practiced during the week each week along that way. He had offseason work, and early in camp beyond the days he wasn't able to go fully, to get off of square one in his development. Which isn't to say he should be perfect or fully formed, because he shouldn't be held to that standard.

But saying Williams is "starting from square one" in the preseason opener almost feels like Campbell trying to make an excuse for him.

If Chase Cota or any other Lions' receivers keep outdoing Williams in preseason games, viable excuses for why he's falling short will start to dry up. But we are not there yet. The issue is primarily with Campbell saying "square one" in an assessment when he really didn't need to.


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