Williams Is 'Least' of Defensive Problems

A glaring breakdown here and there has wrongly colored the overall performance of veteran cornerback Tramon Williams. Despite the weekly challenge of facing the opponent's No. 1 receiver, these numbers say Williams is one of the better cover men in the NFL.

Joe Whitt has heard the criticism of his veteran standout, Tramon Williams, and is left shaking his head.

"People took a couple plays that were glaringly bad — the New York screen, there was a run in the Minnesota game that, to be honest with you, wasn't necessarily his fault but it looked bad on him," Whitt, the Green Bay Packers' cornerbacks coach, said on Tuesday. "People took those plays and said, ‘Oh, Tramon can't play.' That's silly."

To be sure, nobody will confuse Williams' run-defending acumen with that of Charles Woodson. In fairness, however, only Williams knows how much the shoulder injury and resulting nerve damage sustained in the 2011 opener continues to impact him in terms of pain, strength and range of motion.

On the other hand, Williams is one of the top cover men in the league, which somehow has gotten lost in the conversation of fans who focus on his $8.5 million cap number for 2013 and $9.5 million for 2014.

Based on the research of ProFootballFocus.com, 71 cornerbacks played at least 50 percent of their teams' defensive snaps. Williams ranked:

— 17th (tied) with one completion allowed for every 11.6 snaps in coverage.

— 17th with a passer rating allowed of 74.3.

— 16th with 53.5 percent completions.

— 3rd with 14th passes defensed.

Week after week, Williams was matched up against the opponent's No. 1 receiver. So, it's worth pointing out that Williams was the 11th-most targeted cornerback with 101 passes thrown his direction. He yielded the 20th-most receptions with 54, making his ranking in completion percentage all the more impressive. While he picked off just two passes, he allowed just two touchdowns. A whopping 71 corners (regardless of snap percentage) allowed more touchdown passes.

And for all the grief over Williams' tackling, he was a middle-of-the-pack 34th in ProFootballFocus.com's tackling efficiency and 29th with 184 yards allowed after the catch.

Across the board, Williams performed better than he did in 2011, when he was really feeling the aftereffects of the injury. He allowed a 79.8 rating, 56.5 percent completions, a league-worst 1,034 yards, a next-to-last 341 yards after the catch and was 61st in tackling efficiency.

Williams is coming off an up-and-down 2012, and he ended the year with a dud against Michael Crabtree in the playoffs. With Williams saying last week that his shoulder was feeling even better than a year ago, Whitt envisions another season of progress in 2013. During Tuesday's practice, Williams was active during an 11-on-11 blitz drill by denying a completion to James Jones and then making a diving deflection a couple plays later.

"We asked Tramon to do some things that wasn't the best for him but that's a part of football," Whitt said. "This year, I will say this, I'm so pleased with Tramon and Tramon's going to play high-level football because we're going to allow every one of those guys in that room to do what they do best. I feel that Tramon's going to — I'm not going to say he's going to have his best year yet but he is the least of my worries. He is the least of my worries. He had a couple glaring plays so everybody says he had a poor year. That wasn't the case."

Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

Packer Report Top Stories