In his young career, Detroit Lions 2022 first-round pick Jameson Williams has just nine catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. For a 22-year-old player who came into the NFL with high hopes of being an extremely productive player, it would be understandable to be frustrated with the lack of production. But Williams, who has made significant progress in the details of the game as of late, is happy to be contributing in other ways to help this 7-2 team win.
“I really don’t focus on targets, that’s not my thing anymore,” Williams told the media on Thursday. “I really don’t know what to say on the targets, because I don’t focus on that. Like I said, I’m just focused on winning. We got a real good thing going right now, something that Detroit hasn’t seen in a while, and we’re just focused on keeping that going. It don’t matter who gets the ball. When you see the ball in someone’s hands on our team, you see them making plays, that’s all that really matters to us.”
Though the catches haven’t quite come for Williams yet, the receiver has found other ways to make big impacts on the game. Whether he’s making big blocks downfield to spring huge runs or executing deep routes to clear space for his teammates, that effort is getting noticed by his teammates and coaches alike.
“The more that he earns his stripes here, the more opportunities he gets,” coach Dan Campbell said this week. “Because every time he makes a block like he does or he runs the routes he’s running, he makes some catches, you just gain the trust of everybody around you and it just keeps going and going. And his comfort level, his confidence level is going up. So, he’s in a good place right now.”
Another potential layer of frustration for Williams is some of his biggest plays to date getting nullified by penalty. Last year against the Packers, Williams hauled in a 66-yard touchdown pass that was called back due to a holding penalty. This past week, it happened again when his 10-yard touchdown pass was nullified by a low-block call.
But Williams ain’t sweating it.
“I was a little mad, but I just ran the next play,” Williams said. “I plan on getting a lot more touchdowns, so I really don’t be tripping off that.”
Ask anyone in the building, and they believe those big plays are coming, too.
“I think it’s just coming, it’s just a matter of time,” receivers coach Antwaan Randle-El said. “Because he’s getting better. He’s getting excited about not just catching the ball, he excited about being where he’s supposed to be when he’s supposed to be there, about getting blocks for his teammates, and stuff like that.”
“I don’t know if you guys can tell—the more he’s playing, the better he’s getting,” receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown said. “So we want him to play the best ball out there of the year, and I think he’s on pace for that. We’re excited to have him. I know I keep saying this, but you guys see when he’s out there: the blocks that he makes downfield, the touchdown that he got called back, things like that. Then the long balls are bound to come, so you just gotta keep putting the work in, which he’s doing. The sky’s the limit with him.”