Jameson Williams’ NFL debut was mostly forgettable. The Detroit Lions’ first-round pick played in just eight snaps against the Jacksonville Jaguars, only two of which were passing plays—and two were victory formation snaps. He did receive a target, but the play wasn’t close to connecting.
But all of that was mostly according to plan, per Lions coach Dan Campbell.
“That was the whole point, honestly,” Campbell said on 97.1 The Ticket on Tuesday morning. “I have no preconceived notions of what it was going to be or what it was going to look like. We just wanted to get him out there. We wanted him to go through a pregame warmup. We wanted him to be on the sideline, have to run in a hollow, go line up, go fight with somebody a little bit, go run a route, see if you can connect, go block somebody and just be in it, be part of it.”
Williams is coming off a torn ACL he suffered in the National Championship game back in January. The Lions returned him to practice just two weeks ago, and because the Lions only did walkthroughs that initial week, Williams has only had three, true NFL practices under his belt thus far.
But with five games still left on the schedule, Campbell revealed that Williams’ role is going to increase starting with this week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
“Moving forward, it’ll be, ‘Okay, we’ll get him a little more involved now,’” Campbell said. “So we’ll have some things for him. He’ll play more than he did last week, but, there again, let’s slowly start to implement him into what we’re doing and let’s see how he handles everything.”
Campbell turned heads prior to the Jaguars game when Jay Glazer reported that the plan was to play Williams on the punt coverage team as a gunner. Detroit’s offense ended up being so efficient that they never punted in the game, but Campbell confirmed Williams was going to play that position had the team needed him.
So will that still be on the table going forward now that Williams has his feet under him? Campbell—as he’s done more recently—played coy.
“I don’t know. Maybe that’s all he does. Maybe he’s just a gunner,” Campbell joked. “Have you ever seen his gunner reps? Check them out.
“But, no, we’ll see. Look, I’ll tell you this, he’s a football player and he’s tough and he’s competitive. He’s not worried about breaking nails, so he just wants to play. He’s going to get more reps on offense and we’ll take him where he can go.”