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Jameson Williams Will Make Ben Johnson Finally Happy with Offense

Jameson Williams is ready for an increased workload against Vikings.

The Detroit Lions caught heat from the NFL world on Sunday when news of Jameson Williams’ role spread.

A report surfaced that the team planned to also use the rookie as a gunner on the punt team in his NFL debut. The team wanted to use the speedster as a gunner to help cover punts, as he works to get his legs under him.

Yet, fans didn’t get to see Williams on the punt team, because the Lions scored on eight consecutive offensive possessions. The Alabama product played six snaps on offense, but stayed off the field on special teams because the Jaguars' defense never forced Detroit to punt. 

“I wouldn’t say it’s disappointing, it’s good for the offense,” Williams said. “We didn’t bring the punt team on the field, so I would say that’s a win for that side. We had a great game on offense, not bringing the punt out. We scored 40, it was exciting to watch.”

Williams’ appearance against the Jacksonville Jaguars was the first of his career. As he stepped onto the field for one of his limited snaps, he could hear fans chanting his name. The Ford Field crowd was eagerly anticipating his first big play.

“That was good,” Williams said. “I never really got that in college.”

The young wideout figures to see increased playing time this upcoming week against the Minnesota Vikings, as he gets more acclimated to the speed of the game. It’s uncertain if he’ll receive reps on the punt team. Detroit special teams coordinator Dave Fipp was non-committal regarding it Thursday.

“It just comes down to the individual. I would say he’s different, he just loves football,” Fipp said. “If that’s his way he’s gonna contribute in a game, he’s willing to do it. He was willing to do it going into that game. I would say once we got the go-ahead, I went to him also and just said, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ And, he said, ‘Oh yeah, I just want to play.’ If he had told me no, then I wasn’t gonna play him there. I think every individual case is different, this guy wanted to play. We were gonna use him. We’ll see what we do this week.”

Using a recovering injured player on special teams can cause concern, as that facet of the game comes with a high injury risk. Still, Fipp noted that injuries can happen in all aspects of the game, and added that he didn’t feel that the decision would come with an extra risk.

“You can’t paralyze yourself with the fear of a guy getting injured,” Fipp explained. “Because I think if you do that, at some point, you’re going to stop practicing, you’re going to stop doing that drill and then the first time someone gets hurt in the next drill, you’re going to stop doing that drill. It’s like, you just can’t do that and be a good football team. I think you’ve got to make calculated decisions.”

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Building chemistry with Jared Goff, Ben Johnson

Williams continues to acclimate himself within the Lions’ offensive scheme. In his debut, his six snaps were limited to four runs and two passes, one of which was targeted his way.

Yet, the most valuable parts of his time on the field so far have come in practice. As he continues to work with starting quarterback Jared Goff and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, the rookie has felt his confidence grow.

“It’s good, that chemistry is needed,” Williams said. “With him being my quarterback and me being his receiver, it’s something that’s very much needed. When we get out there and getting certain plays and getting certain defenses and certain looks, he knows where to put it at with the speed I’ve got and the way I run this route, with how it’s supposed to be run.”

Williams is viewed as a potentially explosive piece of Johnson’s resurgent offense. Under Johnson’s direction, the Lions have seen plenty of success on the offensive side. The team is currently top 10 in scoring, and ranks as the best red-zone offense in the league.

“I like that type of coach, because he’s aggressive to go get it and just get the offense off the field as quick as possible,” Williams said. “We’ve got to get a touchdown, and it could take one play, it could take two plays, it could take three plays. But, sometimes, it could take 10 plays. But, I feel where he’s coming from when he says that he wants to be as explosive as he can be. First play of the drive, 75 plays off the kickoff, or you could get a first down and it could be 65 yards or 60 yards. It could be whatever. I like that for sure.”

Johnson is equally as excited about working Williams into the fold throughout the final five games of the season, as the rookie’s speed has the potential to work wonders inside his scheme.

In his eyes, Johnson wants to see the offense making explosive plays. With talented wideouts such as Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark, the offense has the ability to do plenty of that.

“I love explosive plays,” Johnson said. “After every drive, we’ve got one of our young coaches who will say, ‘Hey, that was a 15-play drive,’ or, ‘That was a 12-play drive.’ I’ll say, ‘You know what’s better than that? A three-play drive that ends up in the end zone.’ Every week, we’re on a quest to find more explosives. When you play a game like that, and it's about efficiency as opposed to explosives, you've got to be good on third down. And, that was probably our best all year that we've been on third down. So, we have to stay on track, and it worked out for us. But, all of a sudden, if we're not quite as good on third down, then playing that type of game isn't nearly as good for us.”

Johnson discussed the limited role that the rookie played Sunday, which essentially served as an introductory course for what the rest of the season will look like.

“The intent was, I mean, he hadn’t even put on pads and gone through even pregame warmup before,” Johnson commented. “So, a lot of that was just getting your bearings, and now that you’ve got that under your belt, now we can progress forward from there. Within those numbers of snaps, it’s hard to say one way or another, but it’s a good starting point for him. I don’t think he was very pleased with his play, but that’s good, that’s a starting point. Just like every other player, we’re looking to get a little bit better each week.”