Detroit Lions 2022 first-round pick Jameson Williams has yet to live up to his potential, and Sunday’s performance against the Baltimore Ravens was a pretty good example of why some have been frustrated with him thus far. Quarterback Jared Goff targeted Williams six times on Sunday, but failed to connect on every single pass. There was a miscommunication that resulted in an interception, a dropped pass, sloppy routes, and inaccurate passes. Nothing about the chemistry between Goff and Williams seems to be clicking.
Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson admitted on Friday that things weren’t where they need to be, but they are going to be patient with the second-year receiver.
“Some guys take longer than others to develop a rapport with and we just—we frankly aren’t there yet,” Johnson said. “So, we’ll continue to work on it and it’s going to come and when it does come, I think we’re all going to be pleased.”
Williams has faced a lot of adversity in his 1.5 years in the league. He spent most of his rookie season sidelined while he rehabbed from a torn ACL suffered in the National Championship game that January. This year, he not only missed the final two preseason games with a hamstring injury, but he was slapped with a gambling suspension for the first four games of the 2023 regular season. In total, Williams has played in just nine games, catching five passes or 96 yards and two touchdowns.
This week, Williams downplayed any chemistry issues with Goff, saying he believes the extra work he’s getting in with Goff since returning from injury is paying off.
“I feel like it’s been good,” Williams said of the chemistry. “Like he said, it’s been a good thing since I’ve been back. I’ve been back a couple weeks now, we’ve been getting some extra work in, some good work after practice. So everything is going good for sure.”
Goff, too, thinks things are trending in the right direction and believes Williams is putting in the necessary work to get things on track.
“It’s so early in his career and his development,” Goff said. “I just keep working, keep working with him, building that trust with him and getting on the same page. He’s working his tail off at practice and has done a great job trying to get better every week and I expect to see his development continue.”
It’s no secret that Williams has the potential to be Detroit’s big-play threat. Of his five catches, two went for touchdowns of 40 yards or more. But with Williams’ blazing speed, Johnson admitted building the deep-ball chemistry with him is an additional challenge for Goff.
“Throwing the ball down the field to him is completely different than anybody else that we have on this roster,” Johnson said.
One way the Lions may try to build some momentum with Williams is to find other ways to get the ball in his hands, be it in the run game, receiver screens, or anything else Johnson can whip up. Last year, Williams took a reverse for 40 yards against the Bears. The Lions offensive coordinator hinted there could be more of that coming down the line.
“Listen, this guy loves football, so the more we can get him involved, the better off I think we’re going to be.”