I happen to see criticism of Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams with unfortunate frequency on social media, whether it be the comments section right here at Cheesehead TV or our Facebook page or my Twitter stream.
To share some examples with our readers, I did a quick Twitter search of “Tramon Williams” on Monday, and here’s the reaction the reaction from Sunday night’s Packers’ 44-31 victory over the Vikings.
Anyone remember that last good game Tramon Williams played for #Packers?
— Steve Lemerand (@slemerand) October 28, 2013
Yup, last night.
Tramon Williams is constantly fucking up — M?RC?McFLYY (@MarcMcflyy) October 28, 2013
By constantly, I’m sure he meant to say “infrequently.”
Tonight Tramon Williams with 2 more huge PI penalties and the result is 14 points – completely inexcusable
— NY2LASPORTS.COM (@ny2lasports) October 28, 2013
Actually, only one of his penalties last night was inexcusable. That was one play out of 49 he was on the field.
Tramon Williams you fucking moron. — Kevin Lawler (@Kevins_A_Girl) October 28, 2013
One person actually favorited this tweet.
@jbarn54 Every team should be aiming to exploit Tramon Williams.. He can’t cover anyone
— Rad Dockery (@Rad_Dockery) October 28, 2013
Does “anyone” include Calvin Johnson?
Okay, so it wasn’t Sunday night that Williams shutdown Calvin Johnson. That came at Detroit at 2011 and in Green Bay in 2012.
And I guess that basically gets to the crux of the issue regarding Williams. He’s not the player he once was.
In 2010, he was the Most Outstanding Player of the Packers’ Super Bowl season, at least according to one blogger. It was in 2011 that Williams suffered a debilitating shoulder injury, and he hasn’t been the same since.
But it’s not as if Williams has been playing poorly. Yes, he’s had the occasional poor play or poor game, like he did last year against the Vikings in the season finale when he got ran over by Adrian Peterson on multiple occasions.
Williams, however, wasn’t about to suffer the same fate again. He took down Peterson in the open field on Sunday, on a play the Vikings running back could have and should have been flagged for initiating contact with his helmet.
Yes, for as much credit as the Packers big defensive line gets for stuffing the run, Williams and the defensive backs were also part of the effort in helping to limit Peterson to just 60 rushing yards on Sunday.
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to see casual fans criticizing Williams, who plays a position where players frequently only get their name mentioned when they make a mistake.
The casual fan only hears Williams’ name on the broadcast last night after he was called for two pass interference penalties, one of which was as bad a call as they come.
Or they bemoan the fact that he dropped what could have been a pick-six, but neglecting to acknowledge the distance that Williams covered to break up the pass in the first place.
@BrianCarriveau how about docking him for another dropped pick with both hands on the ball?
— E M (@maascowjr) October 28, 2013
What people don’t see or hear is when Williams is shutting down the receiver across the line of scrimmage for him.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Williams allowed only one of four passes targeted in his direction to be completed for a mostly harmless nine yards on Sunday.
The veteran Packers cornerback finished with a positive 1.3 rating for the game, which also included a hit on quarterback Christian Ponder coming on a blitz. A total of 15 Packers defenders received a lower grade than Williams for the Vikings game.
Is Williams playing at a Pro Bowl level? Absolutely not.
But if you want to see poor cornerback play, go back to the days of Ahmad Carroll and Joey Thomas in the not-so-distant past. Based upon some comments on social media, you’d think Williams is in that category, but far from it.
The Packers are experiencing a luxury of riches at cornerback now that Casey Hayward is healthy and played his first game of the season in Week 8. And that’s in addition to the superb play from Sam Shields, an understated impact by Davon House and a newly healthy Jarrett Bush too.
Certainly, feel free to make the argument that House deserves more playing time. Or Hayward needs to play a bigger role. Even make the case that the Packers need to renegotiate Williams’ contract in the offseason.
But don’t go overboard like the folks on social media above. It’s unfair. And embarrassing.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book “It’s Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America,” and editor of Cheesehead TV’s “Pro Football Draft Preview.” To contact Brian, email email@example.com.