In early May, Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy raised some eyebrows when he mentioned the effect of a returning Tramon Williams in the defensive secondary.
McCarthy on Tramon Williams' presence in #Packers CB room: "Tramon brings a whole different level of experience that we've never had here. Never. And I say that with great respect to Al Harris and Charles Woodson."— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) May 5, 2018
Now, at the end of May, more coaches have begun to sing Williams’ praises with the latest coming during Thursday’s press conferences.
Williams acknowledged early after signing that one of the obvious reasons the Packers chose to bring him back to the organization was for the leadership and teaching value he could provide to corners on the roster. With prior experience in new coordinator Mike Pettine’s scheme and three young, highly-drafted cornerbacks in the DB room, Williams appears to be doing just that.
Pettine himself singled out Williams as a “great influence” and a “true professional” in relaying his experience within the defensive system to his fellow teammates. “People don’t understand how big of an impact that has,” said Pettine. “As coaches, we can only get guys so far. I think when they have a guy sitting next to them that’s playing it, that’s been through it, that knows how to prepare, and knows how to get through a long season, I think the two rookies couldn’t have asked for a better veteran to be in the room with them.”
Another secondary player who was asked about frequently on Thursday was second-year player Kevin King. A long, athletic corner who was limited as a rookie due to injuries, King is nearing a full return from shoulder surgery and has earned glowing reviews for his maturity between year one and year two. When asked about King’s progress specifically, Packers cornerback coach Joe Whitt, Jr. was quick to assert Williams’ role in King’s development. “(King has) been in Tramon Williams’ back pocket the whole time learning,” said Whitt. Not just necessarily the defense, but how to be a pro and how to be in the league 13 years.”
Expanding more upon the advantages of having a player like Williams back in the fold, Whitt raved about the example he sets. “He’s been the ultimate pro,” said Whitt. “He’s a guy that takes tremendous care of his body and that’s one thing I try to stress to these other guys. It’s one thing me saying it. It’s another thing having a guy in the room with you doing those things. Doing the yoga, getting the massages, doing the extra stretching, studying film a certain way. He does everything the proper way and it’s just been great having him back.”
Likewise, secondary coach Jason Simmons talked about providing a good learning environment on a team full of youth and the role Williams plays in that process. Simmons only reiterated Williams’ strengths in interacting with teammates. “Having Tramon around has really been good because he’s familiar with this scheme,” said Simmons. “He’s done it before in Cleveland. So he’s able to mentor a lot of the young guys as well. It’s been really good to have him around. Guys have really been tying themselves to his hip because he’s a true professional.”
Though it’s early in the workout stages with training camp festivities yet to come, it’s fair to say that Tramon Williams is delivering on the Packers’ leadership hopes when it signed the 35-year old. And while he’s certainly stood out off the field, Williams has drawn just as much praise among the coaches for his on-field demeanor and the plays he’s made in practice after a strong 2017 season in Arizona.
With the inexperienced yet talented group of cornerbacks in Green Bay this season, the signing of Williams is expected to bring stability on Sundays. But his impact should continue to be felt in more ways than one.