His level of practice participation as he worked his way back from a torn ACL. Apparent missed opportunities when he did play. A six-game suspension for violating the NFL's gambling policy, with an ignorance plea some may have a hard time believing. Missing training camp practices. Struggling with some drops in camp, and getting into a fight or two.
Everything Jameson Williams does gets magnified, blown out of proportion....made a definite narrative. On the practice time front, no less an authority than Lions head coach Dan Campbell has conveyed the raw importance of it for Williams. As a practical matter, he is a rookie technically heading into his second NFL season.
Which isn't to diminish the pressure that will be on Williams, once he's able to play after sitting the first six games. That late start to his second season will only raise the heat on him that was already coming, as people anticipated a breakout this year. If he struggles out of the gate, with a practical third of the season already gone by the time he's able to play, the Lions probably won't be able to let him figure it out as they're trying to win games.
Brad Holmes defends Jameson Williams, pointing to magnification of everything
The easy thing to point to with Williams right now, be it with his on the field development or any "maybe he should have known better" element of his gambling suspension, is that he's 22 years old. But there will be a point where youth and inexperience can't be excuses, if we're not moving quickly to that point already.
Lions general manager Brad Holmes was on 97.1 The Ticket on Thursday. He had some things to say about Williams.
"I think sometimes it’s a little more magnified when a wide receiver with that kind of talent, if he drops a ball, everybody sees it," "
"He’s such a young player and he’s still developing and growing," "Player development is paramount with us inside this building, so we’ll keep making sure that he’s surrounded with the right structure to continue to develop with the coaching and resources we have in place. He’s got game-changing talent, but he’s just a young player and these guys go through ups (and downs). ... We still got a lot of hope for him.""
Some Lions' fans like to say any negative attention Williams is getting now will drive him out of Detroit the minute he can leave. That's a reach. But it's also fair to expect to see certain things from him right now, even in small ways, as long as those expectations are kept reasonable as he works to ramp up his development. Time will tell if Holmes' defense this week ages well.