As we predicted, Tramon Williams will take over at free safety for the departed Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) November 1, 2018
This is a sensible move for a number of reason.
First, Clinton-Dix wasn’t really a free safety to begin with. He didn’t have the awareness or coverage ability. Sending him packing likely won’t hurt the Green Bay Packers’ defense at all.
Second, as Williams showed against the speedy Los Angeles Rams receivers, he’s lost a step. That’s not particularly surprising, considering he’s 35. A lot of great corners have finished their career at safety. Most notably, future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson and Hall of Famer Rod Woodson. Also, if you want to go back a little further, both LeRoy Butler and Ronnie Lott started their careers at cornerback.
We don’t know what the Packers are going to get from Williams at safety, but he’ll definitely be better in coverage than Clinton-Dix was.
Third, the Packers have a wealth of cornerbacks. This move will mean more playing time for rookie Josh Jackson. It means we also might finally see Bashaud Breeland, who the Packers signed in late September. Breeland hasn’t played at all yet.
Williams has actually played a little safety before. He played some with the Packers in 2009 and he played some with Cleveland in 2016, the last year he played for Pettine, then coach of the Browns.
Williams said he has no issue with the move and suggested it may even be beneficial.
“From the middle of the field, you get a chance to see the picture and you get a chance to see it from a different view. I think that’s going to help out a lot because that’s one thing that I do study. I do study offenses, I do study formations, I do study people. Where they get lined up on the field, it tells you a lot of things, so I better communicate to guys all over the field, which was one of the things that I recognized when I play inside. When I play inside, I got a chance to communicate a little bit to everybody on the field. At corner, you can’t really communicate with many people at all.”
This is exciting and could be great for the Packers’ defense. Some people have mentioned that Williams isn’t a great tackler. To that point, neither was Clinton-Dix. At least the Packers have someone back there who can communicate effectively and can cover.
If Williams does his job, he shouldn’t have to make too many tackles anyway.