Lions wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El naturally conveys his support for Jameson Williams


Antwaan Randle El has acknowledged an issue Jameson Williams is working through, but it's on the field with no deeper concern.

Heading into his second season, healthy and lined up for a big role, Jameson Williams was naturally under a microscope more than probably any other Detroit Lions player. Then in April, the intensity of that microscope turned up when he was suspended six games for violating the NFL's gambling policy.

While it's hard to buy Williams' plea of complete ignorance about the league's gambling rules, he should also be allowed to move on from his mistake. But the pressure will undeniably be on him when he's able to take the field this season.

Williams was observed struggling some during OTAs, with dropped passes as a headliner. He's working to get on the same page with Jared Goff, essentially starting from square one this offseason after being limited by his recovery from an ACL tear a year ago.

Antwaan Randle El puts his support behind Jameson Williams

Dan Campbell has filled his coaching staff with guys who played in the NFL, like he did. That creates a player-friendly environment, but also high demands from coaches who have "been there and done that." Wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El is in that group.

Randle El spoke to reporters on Monday, and via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press he talked about Williams' drops issue on a very fundamental level that also has to be ingrained to become instinct.

"It’s going to look like that a little bit just 'cause we’re working on a couple different things to help him from that standpoint," Randle El told reporters Monday. "But he knows how to catch the ball. It’s just like, all right, well, not that you got to focus more here, but this needs to be caught and tucked this way, as it relates to getting the ball and catching it and tucking it away from the defender. Defender’s on your right, what arm do you put it in and vice versa, and all that type of stuff. So, been working on it.""

Randle El said he has no concerns about Williams' character, which has become a thing for some people. He also offered an important perspective he said he has counseled Williams on.

"Just from the whole character deal, man, you’ve got to be who you’re going to be,” Randle-El said. “You’ve really got to silence the noise of the media people, for sure, because if you spit the wrong way, they’re going to write about it. That’s just part of it. He understands that and he’s getting better at that.”"

Randle El said he does not have to motivate Williams to work hard.

"I don’t have to motivate him much when it comes to ball. He loves the game and wants to be better and works at it,” Randle-El said."

The best way for Williams to put the off-field noise to rest will be to perform when he's able to play. There will be natural hiccups as he hones his on-field craft, but he's healthy this offseason and won't truly have to be away from the team all that long as he serves his suspension. Having Randle El as his position coach, even if this week's public comments are to be expected, will only help.