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NOTEBOOK: Williams making the most of his opportunity in Detroit

The Green Bay Packers moved on from running back Jamaal Williams this offseason in favor of re-signing Aaron Jones and allowing 2019 second-round pick A.J. Dillon to play a bigger role in the backfield.

That put Williams on the free-agent market. The Lions thought so highly of his ability and potential to form a nice duo with second-year Lions running back D'Andre Swift, that Williams was one of the few free agents to sign for longer than just a single year. Williams signed a two-year deal with Detroit.

Williams spent his first four seasons with the Packers, and Monday he'll make his return to Lambeau Field for the first time on the visitor's side.

"Another man's trash is another man's treasure," Williams said Thursday. "It's part of life. You're going to have those types of rejections. You're going to get turned down. People aren't going to want you.

"But when you get your shot and opportunity again from somebody that will give you your shot, you just have to take that opportunity, be grateful for it and make it count."

Williams has brought a ton of energy and a big smile every day since arriving in Detroit, and he certainly made the most of his first opportunity to play for the Lions Week 1.

His 110 scrimmage yards (54 rushing, 56 receiving) was tops for the Lions in Week 1, as he and Swift combined for 214 scrimmage yards in the loss to the 49ers.

"He's exactly what I thought he would be and envisioned what he would be," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Thursday of Williams. "And that, man, there's true value in that because he was as steady and reliable as a guy you can have. He looked exactly like he did in camp, he ran hard, he was high-energy, he played smart, and he helped move the football for us."

Williams will no-doubt be looking to show Green Bay they made a mistake by letting him walk out the door in free agency.


It didn't sound like a good early-week prognosis for veteran wide receiver Tyrell Williams, who is in the concussion protocol after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit Week 1. Williams was not at practice Wednesday, and wasn't even in the building on Thursday, according to Campbell.

"Right now, it doesn't look great," Campbell said of Williams playing Monday. "But we'll see what tomorrow looks like."

The one advantage of playing on Monday this week is it gives players like Williams one extra day to try and work through the return-to-play protocols.


Monday night is not just a big matchup against Green Bay because it's primetime and the whole league will be watching, it's also a division contest. It's important for a new coaching staff and young roster to get a win under their belt and start to build some confidence.

It's only Week 2, but since 1990, teams that start the season 1-1 have made the playoffs 41.6 percent of the time. Teams that begin the season 0-2 have made it just 11.6 percent of the time.

Both Detroit and Green Bay enter Monday night 0-1 on the year.


We knew Aaron Glenn's new defense in Detroit was going to be more aggressive than the previous regime, and that was certainly the case Week 1.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Lions blitzed on half of the 49ers' drop backs, which was the third-highest percent in the league Week 1. The Lions never ranked higher than 25th in blitz percentage under the former regime.

One area where Glenn likely wants to see some improvement when it comes to bringing pressure this week in Green Bay is getting home a little more often. Detroit registered one sack vs. San Francisco in blitzing situations, while 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 8-of-13 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown for a 131.09 passer rating, per STATS INC.

Blitzing Aaron Rodgers can be dangerous, so it will be interesting to see how Glenn plays it Monday night in Green Bay.


  • Rookie defensive end Levi Onwuzurike was inactive last week with a hip injury, but Campbell said Thursday he's trending toward being active and making his regular-season debut in Green Bay.
  • Offensive line coach Hank Fraley Thursday, when asked about Penei Sewell playing left vs. right tackle moving forward: "There's been no discussion on that stuff. Right now Taylor, in my mind, is our left tackle and Penei is our right tackle and when Taylor isn't playing Penei is our left tackle and Matt Nelson is the right tackle. That's how we're doing things."
  • Outside linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard was very disappointed with the way his outside linebackers didn't set the edge well enough in the run game against the 49ers. He thought those edge players got sloppy with some mental errors with pre-snap alignment and technique, and has challenged them to be better this week. "With no edge you have no chance," Sheppard said Thursday.

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