Look for Tramon Williams to Line Up Across from A.J. Green

The veteran cornerback could mirror Green no matter where he lines up on the field, on the perimeter or in the slot.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams. Photo by Corey Behnke of CheeseheadTV.com.

There was a lot of talk during training camp about how the Green Bay Packers cornerbacks would line up on the left and right sides of the field, regardless of opponent, instead of matching-up against a particular receiver as they've done in the past.

But even the best-laid plans can oft go astray if injuries interfere, such as happened in the early portion of the Packers' 2013 season.

With safety Morgan Burnett and cornerback Casey Hayward sidelined by hamstring injuries, the Packers have had to make due with a makeshift secondary still unsettled three games into the year.

If healthy, Hayward would likely be manning the slot cornerback position in Green Bay, where he was so effective a season ago by grabbing six interceptions and coming in third in the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.

In his absence, the Packers have tried rookie Micah Hyde defending the slot, but he has not looked nearly as good when the games have counted compared to his impressive showing in the preseason.

During the second half of last week's game against Washington, the Packers took advantage of a 31-0 lead to do some experimenting, including playing veteran Tramon Williams in slot, a position he's rarely played despite this being his seventh year in the league.

On one hand, it's allowing the 6-1 Davon House to get some experience and snaps on the perimeter, guarding taller wide receivers.

Looking at it another way, however, maybe the Packers were using it as an opportunity to get Williams comfortable in the slot as a way to mirror terrific Bengals receiver A.J. Green wherever he goes.

At least that's the way Nathan Jahnke of ProFootballFocus.com sees it, as he discussed in his regular Wednesday appearance on Cheesehead TV's Railbird Central this week.

"I would definitely think he's doing it because of some of the injuries the Packers have had in the secondary," said Jahnke. "And I could also see being maybe to prepare for some of the upcoming opponents if these injuries continue.

"I could see the Packers wanting to put Tramon Williams up against A.J. Green against the Bengals, regardless of where Green goes. So they could want Williams to have more time in the slot, so he's ready for that."

Granted, Green doesn't frequently line up in the slot. At 6-4, he's a bigger threat lining up near the sideline.

But then again, Green has taken eight snaps from the slot this season, according to Pro Football Focus and maybe the Packers want their most savvy cornerback on Green, no matter where he aligns.

And perhaps after Anquan Boldin torched Green Bay in Week 1, the Packers want a better match-up on the Bengals' top receiving threat rather than getting caught with Hyde, Chris Banjo or Jerron McMillian on Green.

Of course, this is all just speculation. The Packers haven't come out and declared their plans for Cincinnati, and there's a good chance they won't know until they see if Burnett is ready to go later in the week.

Maybe they'll stick with their left and right cornerback designations, or maybe they'll just pair up Williams on Green on third downs.

Either way, Green will provide a test. He already has nine catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns on the young season.

If the Packers want to come away from Paul Brown Stadium with a win on Sunday, they'll have to prevent Green from having a big day, no matter who's across from him.

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 protected].

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Comments (31)

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Archie's picture

September 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Except TW won't be able to tackle AJG. Good week for AJG fantasy owners.

Bengals 38
Packers 17

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mudduckcheesehead's picture

September 19, 2013 at 04:51 pm

lolcow.

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A Dude's picture

September 19, 2013 at 07:11 pm

Cow's new incarnation revealed.

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joshywoshybigfatposhy's picture

September 20, 2013 at 08:53 am

you mixed up the teams there, slick.

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Mark in the montain's picture

September 22, 2013 at 03:49 pm

Fortunately Shields covered Green. Otherwise this would have been more than just a loss, more like a devistation.

William's bites!

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denniseckersley's picture

September 19, 2013 at 01:06 pm

I just pray the Packers have the personnel to mimic whatever it was the steelers and Ike taylor were able to do on MNF

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Idiot Fan's picture

September 19, 2013 at 02:12 pm

Here's to hoping that Dalton is as accurate on Sunday as he was last Monday...

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hayward4president's picture

September 19, 2013 at 04:51 pm

Exactly what I was thinkin...wow he looked awful.

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mudduckcheesehead's picture

September 19, 2013 at 05:03 pm

The Bengals have some nice pieces, but an unstoppable juggernaut they ain't. They looked awfully pedestrian at times on Monday. AJ Green may get some yards Sunday - heck, he may get a bunch of yards - but I think it'll be in a losing effort a la Garçon last week.

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4thand1's picture

September 19, 2013 at 01:39 pm

This site needs an open chat forum. TW has been great in coverage. He's broken up a lot of passes already. The ints will come. The D needs to put some pressure up front this week. We'll see what Capers comes up with when not facing the read option.

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Evan's picture

September 19, 2013 at 02:12 pm

Yeah, this is the first real test of the pass rush. I've given it a pass the last two weeks because of scheme, but with Dalton sitting back there, I expect Capers to let them loose.

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al's picture

September 19, 2013 at 02:15 pm

get out your blankets on ajg and stop the run ya got this bro !!!

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al's picture

September 19, 2013 at 02:17 pm

pack 38 cinc 17 bro !!!!!!!!!!!

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Calabasa's picture

September 19, 2013 at 02:51 pm

Can somebody please explain why Tramon can't mirror Boldin after the first quarter, or first half? This team just never seems to make adjustments in-game. I think that's backed up by our scoring patterns as well. Can our coaches not think on their feet?

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MarkinMadison's picture

September 19, 2013 at 02:57 pm

I tend to agree with you. The counter-argument is that changing up the game plan, particularly with two safeties who were clearly struggling, plus a rookie (Hyde) getting snaps, was too much for those guys to handle. So the real issue to me was why they didn't train for that contingency (so they COULD make the in-game adjustement) when Burnett went down in the first place. I know he wasn't scratched until 24 hrs before the game (give or take) but he had been recovering eariler, and since it was the first game of the season I would have thought they would have a few contingency plans ready to go. "Next man up" is a great slogan, but it's not a game plan.

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Brian Carriveau's picture

September 19, 2013 at 06:54 pm

Part of it is perhaps not having practiced it. They very likely didn't want Williams in the slot if they spent the entire week getting Hyde and Bush ready for those duties.

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Jamie's picture

September 19, 2013 at 03:58 pm

Our coaches have a history of trusting the players to perform, giving them too much leeway in some cases, and not overreacting if the plan isn't working just right. They stay patient, maybe throwing in tweak or two, but they trust the plan, preparation, and players.

Nobody expected Boldin to go apeshit, so there was no contingency to keep TW on him. They tweaked the plan mid-game and you saw young unprepared players attempting double-teams which didn't work any better.

I agree with being patient and not scrapping the plan...there is sound reasoning for that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

It appears they are learning from the first game (or two games if you consider what Garçon did last week) and planning to go in with TW predominantly matching up. I wouldn't doubt if there are some double-teams mixed in as well...coverage similar to what we ran on Marshall last season.

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Evan's picture

September 19, 2013 at 04:47 pm

I don't understand how the TW/the Packers can shut down Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall but the Boldins and Reggie Waynes shred them.

It seems if they game plan to shut a guy down, they can. It not, they struggle to adjust.

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Stroh's picture

September 19, 2013 at 08:27 pm

As far as Wayne is concerned last year. Woodson IIRC had Wayne in man coverage all over the field and got used, proving that Wood was no longer capable of being a shutdown CB.

With Boldin he wasn't the focus of the gameplan and it showed. Containing Kaep and the running game/read option was the focus of that game.

I agree tho, when they actually game plan to limit a WR they generally do a very good job of doing just that.

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Idiot Fan's picture

September 19, 2013 at 08:46 pm

I'm almost more afraid of Gresham this week. I think we can game plan reasonably well against Green, but those athletic TEs tend to kill us.

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themasterfake's picture

September 19, 2013 at 08:04 pm

I second the open chat room idea

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Bibbon Hazel's picture

September 19, 2013 at 08:49 pm

That's why you get paid the big bucks, Tramon!

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KurtMc's picture

September 19, 2013 at 09:04 pm

+1 Idiot. Dalton is going to get serious pressure & won't be able to set his feet. Unless Cincy is going to run AJ on a few quick outs or crossing slot, forget it.. The big TE issue...uummm

Dalton hasn't looked that great in his two weeks. Maybe close, but Pack should win

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MarkinMadison's picture

September 20, 2013 at 04:34 am

But that IS what they do. They dink and dunk. So unless the Packers consistently get them in 3rd and long, forget about the idea that this will be easy. And for that matter, the Packers tend to give up yards on 3rd and long too. This is a dangerous game. What the Packers have going for them is (1) Cincy is coming off a Monday night game, and (2) I don't think the Packers are overlooking Cincy at all.

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Bob's picture

September 19, 2013 at 09:19 pm

We must and will punish Cincinnati for losing to Chi. I hate the over rated Bears!!

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MarkinMadison's picture

September 20, 2013 at 04:47 am

Have to feel good for Andy Reid today. Nice job coach!

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mudduckcheesehead's picture

September 20, 2013 at 09:48 am

+1

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Robbie Henges's picture

September 20, 2013 at 11:24 am

TW has plenty experience in the slot behind Harris and
Woodson and it wasn't pretty that's why we where all shocked in 2010 when he switched outside and was the best cab in the league to bad he's falling on his face ever since

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Stroh's picture

September 20, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Actually Williams didn't line up in the slot w/ Harris and Woodson. Wood moved to the slot CB w/ Harris and Williams outside.

And since you seem to be ill informed, he's been playing w/ a severe shoulder issue in '11 and '12.

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Icebowler's picture

September 20, 2013 at 04:40 pm

Where are all of those posters who said this spring that we didn't need Tramon anymore? Both secondary's are beat up, so this is going to be a high scoring game. Take the over. That Giovani Bernard scares me as well as the two TE's in addition to AJG. We need to make Dalton's day miserable with our pass rush and,in turn, protect Rodgers. Who ever has the ball last may win. I hope it's GB.

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