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Michigan

Jamaal Williams brings dependability to Detroit run game

AllenPark – If he hasn’t performed one other snap this season, you could possibly make a powerful argument that Detroit Lions working again Jamaal Williams was having one of the best 12 months of his profession. That’s all of the extra exceptional contemplating he hasn’t even reached half-time.

In eight video games, Williams has rushed for 545 yards, averaged 4.3 yards per carry and has eight private greatest touchdowns. He is on monitor to beat his profession excessive in yards this week in Chicago and is on monitor to turn out to be the primary Detroit again to rush for 1,000 yards since Reggie Bush in 2013.

Lions coach Dan Campbell mentioned Williams was precisely what they anticipated after signing him as a free agent two offseasons in the past.

“I love reliability,” Campbell mentioned. “I love knowing what a player brings to the table. He’s one of our most consistent players week after week. You know exactly what you’re going to get out of him. You know exactly what he’s going to do for you, the production in the run game. You know how he will protect. You know that in the passing game, at checkdown, he’s going to be exactly where he’s supposed to be. He’s as stable as they come, so he’s been a solid force for us man. I’m glad we have him.

After playing less than 30% of the team’s offensive snaps last season, the Lions had to lean more heavily on Williams in his second year with the franchise. Originally expected to split the backfield burden with D’Andre Swift, the dual threat has struggled with injuries all season, sidelining him in three games and severely curtailing him in two more. That puts Williams on 42.2% of snaps this year, while his 126 carries make up nearly two-thirds of the Detroit backfield’s workload.

“I think since we got him a year ago, he’s been the model of consistency for us in attack,” said offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. “He runs hard. It might not always be flashy or sexy, but he finds a way to always fall forward when attacked. He will find wrinkles. He’s got great vision and he’s shown the ability to break up tackles and might have some explosive runs for us too.

“…He was exactly what we want in a physical downhill running back,” Johnson said. “He really took on that role and especially with Swifty having a few hiccups here and there he was able to take on a bigger workload and that was a great thing for us offensively.”

Williams played a pivotal role in Detroit’s win over Green Bay last Sunday. When the offense struggled early in the second half, he took six straight handoffs during a touchdown drive in the third quarter, which proved to be a game-changer. He finished the contest with a career-high 24 carries while also scoring a successful two-point conversion that doesn’t show up on this tally.

“We could rely on our offensive line and our groundplay, and you — at least I could do that on the touchline — you could sense where we were wearing them down a little,” Johnson said. “And again, it wasn’t like we made explosive gains, but it was the consistent three, four, five (yards). We methodically brought it to the field that way and I think that’s a great thing. I think we’ve shown over the course of the season that we can be explosive but at the same time we can extend the drive and play a little more small balls if needed, whatever it takes and Jamaal is a big part of the reason why we are able to do this.”

High on performance

After a season of criticism for the team’s defensive struggles, coordinator Aaron Glenn was awarded the cue ball by Campbell after the Lions held the Packers to nine points in Sunday’s win. It was a special moment in the dressing room as Glenn’s players wildly celebrated their coach, who has been under fire all year.

“It was shocking to be honest and I think shocking because I was very grateful that a defensive coordinator got a cue ball,” Glenn said. “I’ll tell you what, I was really worth the players more than anything because it shows the belief that they don’t just have me, they have us as a defender. But man, all the credit goes to these guys. I mean there were a bunch of guys that made great plays in that game. Seeing our young lads come out, how they play is good to see because they can only get better.

Aside from the belief Glenn feels from the players, he said the game against the Packers is important because it helps build belief in yourself.

“Obviously excited about the win we had, really excited about the way the defense played, but I think even more excited that our defense was on the field at a critical time at the end of the game to turn around to finish the game,” Glenn mentioned. That was one thing our boys wanted as a result of the religion is beginning to stick. And I’ve instructed you this earlier than, religion is a strong drug. So we have now to preserve engaged on that and I’m pleased with the best way our boys fought. I’m pleased with the power, the execution, simply total, the touchline, it was excellent.”

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Adjustment during operation

The Lions have grappled with worse than average injury problems this year, which has impacted special teams under the radar.

Before the season even started, two key players for these units, full-backs Jason Cabinda and security CJ MooreShe suffered long-term injuries. And in the weeks since Special Team Coordinator David Fip has had bobby pricewho led the team in special teams snaps, and Craig Reynolds also go down. Meanwhile rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez (elbow) is injured and may not play this week.

This has resulted in Fipp having to constantly shuffle the deck while avoiding a potential drop in performance.

“At the top of the day, I believe it is enjoyable,” said Fipp. “There’s a primary surge of emotion that is in all probability like, ‘Oh man,’ in case you’re being trustworthy. But there is a second the place you are like, ‘Okay, how can we use this to our benefit?’ They do not know who’s going to play, the place we’re going to discipline them, how we are able to transfer another guys.

“You can try to find ways to use it to your advantage,” Fipp mentioned. “It would be kind of like my perspective on life, trying to find some optimism there, something good to make out of something negative.”

damage replace

After Williams was given a time without work following his heavy workload on Sunday, he was again on the coaching discipline on Thursday. Rookie cornerback Follow Lukewho’s battling an ankle damage additionally returned, in a restricted capability.

So just one participant had to pause on Thursday, large receiver Josh Reynolds (the again). He missed final week’s game after injuring himself in follow and tends to miss a second straight week when the group travels to Chicago to play the Bears on Sunday.

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Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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