While many of the Detroit Lions starters didn't play against the New York Giants, one of the players to get extensive run was wide receiver Jameson Williams.
Dan Campbell freely admitted the team was going to turn Williams loose in the preseason. That happened on Friday night, with Williams seeing plenty of targets early and often while playing 51 snaps. The results didn't quite all go as planned though.
Williams was tossed a pass early that appeared to be set for a big gain, or maybe even a touchdown. Williams dropped the pass, though, and the replay showed it was right in his hands. It was a play he has to make.
In spite of that drop, though, Williams did atone. He would haul in two passes for 18 yards on seven targets on the night. Importantly, Williams was able to show solid hands in the red zone when he secured a two-point conversion.
While the general consensus was to overreact to Williams and his inconsistent day, it's important to remember the youngster was seeing his first taste of the preseason. Even with it being a preseason game, he also played far more snaps then he did in any of his six regular season games last year.
An up and down preseason opener isn't going to break Williams, any more than an elite performance would have made him. The importance at this point for Williams is continuing to get meaningful experience, especially since he will miss the first six games of the season due to suspension.
Dan Campbell stresses positives after Jameson Williams' performance vs. Giants
Following the game, Campbell was asked about Williams and his effort. The coach was honest about what Williams accomplished and what the Lions saw from him, and felt as if the game was a still a positive experience.
As Campbell told the media after the 21-16 win, the contest was simply a first step for Williams. He has a lot of learning to do.
The Lions will continue to get Williams on the field heavily in the next two preseason games, and the hope is he can continue to make strides no matter what. Seeing him stack reps is the most important thing right now
Anything Williams does or doesn't do will spur reaction, and overreaction in kind. But patience is still the word here.