ARLINGTON TX - FEBRUARY 06: Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tries to avoid the tackle of Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6 2011 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
One year after a borderline All-Pro season in 2010, the 2011 version of Tramon Williams wasn't nearly as good. Between Nick Collins' injury and Sam Shields' struggles he was hardly the most glaring problem with the Green Bay Packers' secondary, but he was still noticeably less sharp than the previous year. It turns out, there was a very good reason for that.
Williams suffered a shoulder injury in the season opener that caused him to miss one game, but he probably should have missed a bit more time. Williams decided to play hurt throughout the year with a shoulder that had a number of various problems, including nerve damage. Tyler Dunne at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had a great story on Williams and his injury, where Williams talked about what happened when his shoulder couldn't function like it did when he was healthy.
The quote from the story that stood out to me was this one, on playing aggressively at corner.
"That's my game. I like to mix it up a lot, but I like to press. I just wasn't able to really do it much at all. And when you just sit off the whole time, you're going to give up a lot of catches. You may make some plays, too. But you're always giving them space. That's what you don't want to do. You don't want to be one-dimensional. That's pretty much what happened. I became one-dimensional."
Williams goes on to say that he hasn't recovered 100 percent, which makes sense. Nerves can take a long time to regenerate, and in some cases, people never regain the feeling they once had when they suffer nerve damage. He's been working on strengthening his shoulder, though, and I think we can expect to see a better Tramon Williams in 2012.