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What If Tramon Williams Has to Start?

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What If Tramon Williams Has to Start?

Tramon Williams is back with the Green Bay Packers, after three seasons away.  Packers.com staff writer Wes Hodkiewicz recently wrote about Williams and comments from Packers head coach Mike McCarthy about the corner who was part of the team's last Super Bowl win.

McCarthy said Williams doesn't look like he's aged since leaving the Packers in early 2015.  Williams credits that to his commitment to doing the right things to prolong his career and allow him to stay in football shape.

As it stands right now, Williams sits on a depth chart that includes Kevin King, Quinten Rollins and a group of undrafted free agents.  Davon House remains out there for the taking, but he has not signed with the Packers so is not currently part of the conversation.

Based on that cornerback room, it's worth wondering if Williams is currently the starter on the outside opposite King.  There is still time in free agency and the upcoming draft and the Packers will add more corners.

With how many corners and the "who" unknown, it's possible that Williams will have to start games for the Packers in 2018.

In looking purely at Williams' stats over his career, he had his career high in interceptions (6) in 2010, career high in passes defended (22) in 2011 and career high in tackles (83) in 2013.  Since then, he hasn't topped 71 tackles, three interceptions and 13 passes defended in any one season.

Williams can be in great shape and be a serviceable starting cornerback in the NFL.  That is safe to say.  But can he be what the Packers need, if that's what it comes down to?

Williams played in just 13 games last season for the Arizona Cardinals but he came on to tally 41 tackles, two interceptions and defend 12 passes.  He had multiple pass breakups on three occasions.

The fan in me knows that Williams is a warrior on the field.  He watches a lot of film and prepares like the best of them.  He's committed to playing football.  He also plays with a chip on his shoulder, having been an undrafted free agent nearly 12 years ago.  From that perspective, I have no qualms about him being the guy out there.  But the game and time catches up with everyone, eventually and we don't know when that time will come for Tramon.

It's not likely that Williams will be starting for the Packers, either on the outside or in the slot, in 2018.  But if injury hits and he has to.  Or if, for some inexplicable reason the Packers fail to add a competent starter, how do you feel about the idea of Williams playing the bulk of the snaps at corner this season?

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Pulse of the Pack podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (74) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

Even if GB picks a corner at 14, Williams might start the first several games of the season before the anticipated “prized rookie” is ready to take over.
Or maybe the rookie is so “Lattimorean” that he starts game one.
(And yes, I just made up a new word.)

Nick Perry's picture

BUT...Even if the Packers were to land a "Lattimorean" CB at 14 to go with King, who else are the Packers going to play in dime for example? Hmmm Lets see....

1) king
2) "Lattimorean Guy"
3) ?
4) ?

Now I understand Jones would probably cover one of those remaining two WR but who would you rather see out there..Williams or Pipkins?
Williams or Fill in the blank?

I'd personally pick Williams unless one of those UDFA holdovers from last season makes a Tramon Williams type UDFA Jump.

The TKstinator's picture

1. King
2. Rookie
3. T Will
4. Rollins? Who knows??

But there’s still time. Let’s watch and see!

Oppy's picture

Fred waters starts to get snaps as a dime back
**Edit** Yes, it should be HERB waters. But I bet Fred is a pretty good guy, too.

worztik's picture

Who the heck is Fred Waters??? Herb’s brother???

jeremyjjbrown's picture

IDK but I bet they are both "Waterian"...

I just hope that's a good thing.

croatpackfan's picture

SIlent Waters shape the hills....

The TKstinator's picture

Still Waters run deep.

dobber's picture

Ol' Herb Waters, keep on rollin', Mississippi moon won't you keep on shinin' on me...

Oppy's picture

Whoops! lol. Yes, Herb waters.

Johnblood27's picture

"Tramonian Jump"

The TKstinator's picture

Gotta admit I like the way the lingo is catching on in this thread.

Oppy's picture

Thelonius Monk?

Spud Rapids's picture

You forget that Josh Hawkins has the measurables and some experience to be a real contributor

Nick Perry's picture

I expect to see Williams on the field quite a bit this season. For starters he's the only Packers CB who's PLAYED in Pettines system. After Williams who in the Packers CB room has any experience under their belts?

Kevin King has played in what, 10 games before he was shut-down last year? The Packers don't really know what they have in Quinton Rollins, not yet anyways. He can be on schedule and we can hear all we WANT to hear but if Rollins is even slower after the injury will he even make the team? After that it's a bunch of UDFA who IMO are JAGS. Maybe they've improved and will be better but no guarantees.

The Packers are going to draft at least 2 possibly 3 CB's in the first 5 rounds, they HAVE to IMO. At the end of the day Williams will be a better option than most of those picks so I think he'll play quite a bit. They'll try to limit snaps and keep him fresh, but they probably won't have much choice.

The Packers will probably be adding someone or someones who are veterans before TC

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I agree. It's pretty much certian that Tramon gets snaps. What will be telling to me is where those snaps come.

lou's picture

He will get a lot of snaps, they didn't sign him to mentor him into being Joe Whitt's assistant next year, he is there to play and there is no reason to expect him not perform well as long as he is healthy, he has a great track record of excellent play and availability (availability is why House has not signed with anyone yet).

TheVOR's picture

I can't imagine he doesn't start at corner after the Contract he just signed. I mean if someone else arrives and is better, you plug them in, but I can't see any current scenario that doesn't have Williams not starting outside. As many here have stated, it kind of depends. You never know, just when you least expect it, a Mike McKensie walk out on the rookie practice field and wins a job, so anything is possible. Just based on the contract, that tells me he's starting outside.. At least this year.

jww061356's picture

Worst case scenario, he has to start a few games. Best case we have some actual quality depth for the first time in years, a guy who can at the very least be part of a rotation. Based I what I've read hear and elsewhere, let's sign Bashaun Breeland, trade for Kareem Hunt, and add a couple of new corners in the 1st 100 picks. That will be a serious remake of the secondary.

The TKstinator's picture

Where did this “Kareem Hunt” notion come from?
I’m not opposed, just curious.

Johnblood27's picture

You dont know what a KHunt is?

KHunt at corner makes for a soft defense methinks...

Probably very little run support

Disappears every fourth week...

Might make for a good slippery WR thought...

worztik's picture

Now ya got me excited....

The TKstinator's picture

Hey fellas, 7th grade called....

worztik's picture

What’d they call about???

The TKstinator's picture

It wants its mentality back.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Only disappears every 4th week? Sign him :P

Michael Hughes's picture

As it stands he pretty much has to start the season as CB 1 or CB2 and probably still needs to be nickle guy even if a draft pick progresses quickly.

Razer's picture

You were just a little quicker than me this AM. Totally agree.

The TKstinator's picture

As evidenced by his stellar 3 cone time.

Razer's picture

He absolutely starts. At this point Tramon Wiliams is our best CB. Shoulders are tricky injuries and King is going contend with his for a bit yet. Either way, no one else in this secondary has shown that they can play in this league. We will need to add at least one more starting quality CB through the draft and/or training camp signings AND that will just cover us IF no injuries occur.

gr7070's picture

All this.

Cubbygold's picture

100% correct. I don't get how people think TW is anything but our #1 CB. Maybe King puts together a good season, and maybe a rookie contributes, but absent a signing of breeland, TW is absolutely starting week 1.

I think this is a big mistake though. TW is talented, but at his age he needs to have the ability to rest and take time off if injuries arise. If he has to start all 16 games theres a good chance he'll be playing injured in the postseason

stockholder's picture

Williams will play. Bank on it. Even more than a Cb @14. He wasn't just signed so the kids could develop. The plan is King, Williams, and Rollins. Experience. This secondary doesn't need Rookies. It needs people that know what their doing. Williams will prove that. And the packers will still cover their butts by drafting some back up.

Cubbygold's picture

A vet like tre boston would be a nice add to get more of that experience in the secondary

stockholder's picture

I don't see them adding anyone other than House. The plan is to draft Depth at CB. I believe Gute will not be locked into any one player. But I see one mistake he's making. He's still putting the team at risk, by hoping the front line players aren't going to get injured. I know they can't over-spend. But still there is plenty of cap room left. Maybe after the draft.

gr7070's picture

What *if*? Huh?!

He's the best CB on the roster right now.
He had a PFF score in the hi 80s; nearly everyone else had a score in the 50s (including King)!

He's starting. And that's with no injuries, yet.

gr7070's picture

And I actually like Pipkins and Donatello Brown as UDFA guys. Meaning, they have the skills to possibly contribute in the NFL. Which is setting the bar pretty high for UDFAs.

dobber's picture

I think a better title for this article, just for perspective, would have been: What if Dontatello Brown has to Start?

Razer's picture

I think that Jason is just messing with us.

dobber's picture

"He had a PFF score in the hi 80s; "

...playing opposite Patrick Peterson.

Spock's picture

dobber, One argument I've heard is that would tend to mean he would be targeted MORE. Kind of makes sense if Patrick is that good. All I know is that many who watched TW's tape last year say he was balling out. Hopefully, Tramon is one of those rarer athletes who plays beyond the usual drop off age for his position (crosses fingers). I agree with just about everyone here that TW will have to start and the question at the top of this article is a bit rhetorical. As it stands he's currently number one at corner. Let's see what the draft and/or other options bring in. Training Camp is still a ways away.

dobber's picture

It also means he's more likely to be getting safety help.

olwig420's picture

I don't expect Williams to play nearly as good as he did in AZ. It's a lot easier when your the third best corner on the team next to two Pro bowlers vs playing with the Packers grab bag of crappy corners.

John Kirk's picture

He'll start every game unless/until he gets hurt. Tramon will be better than what we've trotted out there the last couple of years but still not good enough.

Not sure if he'll play over King or the rookie that is coming but I have little doubt he was brought here to start.

RCPackerFan's picture

My hope is that Williams starts the season until a rookie or young player is ready to take over.

If a rookie or young player (Pipkins, Rollins, Waters...) are able to over take Williams as a starter that would likely be a good thing.

I'd love to see a rookie come in be the next Lattimore but honestly the odds of that happening aren't great. But I think they could come in and compete and earn a greater role. It would help the rookie coming in too if they didn't have to come in and be the guy right away. Allowing them to get on the field when they were ready to, not forcing them to be on the field.

EdsLaces's picture

Man I love how Ward plays, but this Alexander kid is slowly creeping up to the top of my list..

TJ Coon's picture

I'm pretty sure the answer is yes, he will be starting. It seems to me, they're paying him starting money. If you're gonna draft a corner at 14 , I don't think you'd spend that kind of money on a backup CB.

Cubbygold's picture

TW isn't a long term answer at CB. I don't think his signing has any impact on who they take at 14.

dobber's picture

I agree: TWill is a patch. He's a bridge until they can re-establish younger depth at that position.

Tundraboy's picture

I agree he is a patch. A very good one, fit wise especially. At the same time he is a starter until we find another vet FA. I don't really see them relying solely on the draft this time. At least I hope not. With the to be expected injuries, delayed development of others, going that route right now is scary.

TJ Coon's picture

What if Calvin Ridley has to start???

Royalty Free GM's picture

Multitalented for sure.

Since '61's picture

Charles Woodson played effectively until he was 39 so maybe TW can still be effective at 35. I think that he starts and provides some leadership to what will be an untried secondary at best.

King has 10 games experience at the most and Rollins has played in 33 games but only started 15 of those.

It looks like Gute is waiting until after the draft to add another FA CB but we need another vet CB as injury insurance if nothing else. I'm assuming that we will draft at least 2 CBs, maybe 3. Plus our previous UDFAs and a few more added after the draft.
Donatello Brown, Pipkins and Waters are probably the best of the UDFAs but who knows if any of them could start and be effective.

We're expecting Pettine to improve the defense, including myself. However, we should remember that Pettine had Revis at his best with the Jets and had one side of the field he didn't' need to worry about. Unless he or the Packers find another Revis his job here in GB is significantly more difficult. Thanks, Since '61

flackcatcher's picture

This is going to be a very young secondary group. Could be painful like what happened to Pittsburgh last season. Best hope is combo of vets like Williams and a rebound year for Dix to take the edge off in the secondary. New DC and new system, either way it's going to be a bumpy year.

Since '61's picture

Flak - if we can generate a pass rush we might be able to mitigate some of the concerns with our young secondary. We'll see. Thanks, Since '61

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Therein lies the key--passrush. Thanks to Wilkerson, we are just one more effective rusher away from helping the secondary with heat on QB's.

flackcatcher's picture

I hope you guys are right. But the NFL has made it awfully difficult to generate a consisted pass rush, with the rules that makes holding DL almost impossible to call. Even with a improved pass rush, asking young DB to mirror TE-WR routes is very hard with the rules so heavily tilted in favor of offensives in today's NFL.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

One of the problems predicting this is dealing with the Capers-Pettine transition. We may say all our young DB's are garbage, but 2 of them (Hyde, Hayward) went elsewhere and flourished.

Point is, the whole defensive scheme was a mess, with terrible utilization of players. When your D is a sieve up front, DB's become nothing more than desperate little guys playing too far off, chasing receivers with too much time and running backs with too many holes.

Is Williams some big upgrade due to his experience? I have no idea.

I really want to see our young DB's develop this Spring. Under Pettine, we may find we have a lot more talent back there than we thought. Maybe Williams starts, or maybe he's entering a better DB room than most think.

Tundraboy's picture

I'm pinning many a hope on exactly that.

Ryan Graham's picture

In recent years it seems everyone has been making starts and getting snaps in at corner due to injury. I have a hard time believing Tramon won't be leaned on quite a bit at least early on and I'd take it to Vegas hes making several starts.

Side note, there the obvious choices at corner in the draft being Ward of hes available though not likely, Jackson, Alexander, Hughes and so on. What about my guy Carlton Davis out of Auburn? Dudes sticky, athletic, physical, went toe to toe with the best competition each week...BG has probably been watching him for a lot of his career being a Southeast scout most recently, would fit in the system...it just makes so much sense to me and I see a scenario where they go after him trading down into the late first or early second. I have to believe both Pettine and BG like this guy

4thand1's picture

Oh the NFL passing league, It puts pressure on everyone. 1st you need a QB big money.
Next you need a LT, big money.
Next you need an edge rusher , big money.
Next, a shut down CB, big money.
Next a WR, big money.
There is only so much big money a team can spend in the salary cap era. The only solution is the draft and young guys contributing right away.

holmesmd's picture

Williams starts on the boundary for sure. That is of course unless we land another “better” veteran before the season starts. He’s the best CB on the roster, regardless of his age. If he’s healthy, I predict he will have a good year for us.

Finwiz's picture

Very good article Jason. Finally a dose of reality around here, instead of delusions of grandeur about 35 yo CB's.
If Tramon has to start, we have problems, just like we did/would with House in the same position.
The starter opposite King most likely isn't on the roster yet.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Finwiz, "If Tramon has to start, we have problems" I couldn't have said that better. I'm still counting the money I Lost on his last play as a GB Packer. Oppy, if you want to call me names, you have to use words that I understand. That last name you called me, I didn't have a clue as to what it meant. You see, while you were sitting in a classroom somewhere, when I was 18, I was sitting in a WI Teen Bar, drinking Shorty Pabsts. I don't own a dictionary. You're probably a decent guy. I'd BET, if I could sit down with you in front of the Big Board for an hour, you'd change your opinion on how you think Vegas works. This much I do know. If Tramon Williams is the Best we have, We STILL have serious Problems in the Defensive Backfield, & Finwiz is Right.
LVT

4thand1's picture

LVT nice to see you back.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

4thand1, Thanks!! Wish I had more Friends like you. Hope you are Retired now & Enjoying it. I'm done Betting football. I think I found an edge on slots. We're having fun, & believe it or not, we're Winning. 2 weeks ago I was playing 10 ft. from a $1.4 Million Dollar payout. That would have been Nice. I had the 1st 2 in the Florida Derby. I'll get to watch Jordy out here. I think GB let him go a year too early. I blame AR for that, but Money Talks!! Hope all is Well with you.
LVT

4thand1's picture

Doing great, love retirement.

Oppy's picture

LVT, you have internet access, you have a dictionary.

I'm sure your a fine fellow yourself, but I'm not inclined to learn anything about how Vegas works from someone who's found an "edge" on slots, but I appreciate the offer.

thought i'd throw in, I'm glad you were drinking that near-beer crap at 18 in some small town tavern, sounds very posh, but I wasn't in a classroom somewhere. I'm a high school drop out who dabbled in things a little rougher around the edges than low-content shorties of pabst. But, hey, cool story, bro. You get 'sconnie street cred, for sure.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Oppy, It wasn't Near Beer, it was Regular Pabst & we drank plenty of it. In WI we could drink at 18. Every Friday & Saturday night there was a Rock & Roll band on stage at one of the Teen Bars, Wylers, Marty Zifco's, The Old House, The Beach, & that was just the North Side of Milwaukee. It Never got any better than that. There were a 1000 people every Friday & Saturday night. 500 of them were girls, half loaded. I hope I didn't say I found an edge on slots, but you need to look for something. I've found something that works a lot of the time. I'm $5K ahead at GVR & Sunset on slots. That has to count for something. If I can get you to believe 1 thing, it would be that Vegas takes Advantage of your Suckers. I won $2k last month on Slots at GVR. My wife is already up $1k this month. I'm Even. We can't be that lucky. Wish I could meet you in the Sports Book. I'm laying 5-1 I could change your mind. I'll leave you with this: " I'll never again turn the young ladies heads, Or go running off into the wind. I'm 3/4 Home from the start till the end, I Wish I Were 18 Again!!
LVT

Oppy's picture

Marty Zivko's Rock and Roll Palace, the octagon wonder

Qoojo's picture

Right now, I would say Williams is #2 on the CB depth chart. I put King in front of him if King heals up. If Williams remains at #2, I don't know enough about his play to say if that is an issue. He graded well last year.

My hope is that they draft/sign FA CBs to create enough competition that only one of the UDFA CBs remain on the team, and maybe one of them goes back to practice squad. I think House is a definite upgrade to any of the UDFA CBs on the roster. If they come out of the draft with only one CB, then perhaps they look at signing House to another 1 year deal.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

House has had two bad seasons in a row, so I'm not sure he's an upgrade over anyone--including our developing young CB's.

Finwiz's picture

ALP....It's like talking to a brick wall around here.
Same things, over, and over, and over, and over.

There's a reason the GD guy is still hanging around out there 2 1/2 weeks before the draft.

Lare's picture

I'll bet Williams looks really good going against the Packers receivers in training camp.

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