The Detroit Lions made a somewhat surprising move in the dead of night Wednesday morning. When I said dead of night, I mean directly after everyone at Pride Of Detroit and the Lions beat had gone to sleep. Okay, fine! It was after only I went to sleep. Totally classic stuff.
Signing a running back didn’t seem like it would be something on the Lions radar this offseason, especially when the team has so many holes and they still have Kerryon Johnson. Still, Williams is a welcome addition. He’s hurt the Lions in the past. Fun fact, of Williams 1,985 career yards, 325 of them have come against Detroit. That’s more than any other team Williams has played against in his four-year career.
While we know that about Williams, there’s a lot we don’t know. So I reached out to my friend and evil twin Matt “Matub” Matonich of Acme Packing Company to get the skinny on Williams. Here’s what he had to say.
What are your thoughts on Williams time in Green Bay?
“Williams was everything he needed to be in Green Bay. He wasn’t drafted to be the feature back, but the swiss army knife. He was billed as a “power back” but you never saw that side of him manifest much. But for a mid-round pick who played out a rookie contract, that’s about all you can ask for.”
Are you sad he’s gone?
“Yeah, I am sad he’s gone. I’m one of the “dorks” that the Packers beat writers tend to hate on. What that boils down to is I’m team “Never Pay a Running Back”. I wanted to let Aaron Jones walk and use the money reserved for him on re-signing Corey Linsley and Jamaal. I think an all-pro center with seven years experience working with your reigning MVP and a do-everything back are more important to an offense than a good runner and okay receiver.
Jamaal is also a phenomenal personality. The guy is funny and engaging and brings the “like a kid out there” energy that resonates with fans. When fans on Twitter talk about how sad they are, 95 percent of them mean because they’ll miss Jamaal the person.”
What are his strengths?
“Jamaal is your prototypical third-down back. In fact, when I googled “third-down back” the first result was a Bleacher Report article about former Packer Brandon Jackson. The best part about that is over at Acme Packing Company we’ve spent the last several years calling Jamaal “Brandon Jackson 2.0”. He’s a pseudo-power back who’s a GREAT blocker and has soft hands. He’s everything you want in a passing situation but is a competent enough runner to get yards when you need them. If I had to compare him to a former Lion... off the top of my head I’d say he’s an improved version of Joique Bell.
Oh! I almost forgot: He never fumbles. Literally never.”
What are his weaknesses?
“As mentioned before, he is supposed to be this “big body power back” archetype but that never really materialized. I think I didn’t see him legitimately run over someone until 2019.
He has also seen some work as a return man. Don’t let that fool you. The Packers special teams were historically bad recently and after our main return man went down due to injury, Jamaal was tasked with catching the ball and not fumbling. Outside of that, he was a pretty bad return man.”
How do you see Williams fitting in with the Lions?
“I... kinda don’t? Trying to be honest here, I was really confused about the signing. I remember reading an article just a month ago about how the Lions thought Swift was their third down back. That makes me think they want to use Jamaal as the feature back. Which... I guess. I know Lynn has previously used pretty run-heavy schemes and will likely do so again to protect Goff from himself. So if Jamaal is just part of a three-headed monster once again then he’s a great fit.”