It’s been since July 30 that Tramon Williams has practiced with the team. The Green Bay Packers veteran cornerback bruised a bone in his knee early in camp and has sat out all of the exhibition games, including the team’s scrimmage.
The Packers have been cautious with Williams so far. They didn’t want a repeat of 2011 when Williams injured his shoulder and played through the pain the rest of the season. He only missed one game, but he just wasn’t the same player. Not resting might have hurt him in the long run.
This time around, Williams and the team doctors wanted to make sure he was completely healthy before returning to action.
With the Packers only practicing in shells today, Williams returned to the field and participated in all the team drills. He started alongside Sam Shields at cornerback with the first team defense, and got work in defending and jamming receivers James Jones and Charles Johnson. The Packers were still cautious with the veteran defensive back and limited his reps in practice. They will monitor his knee tomorrow before allowing him to participate in Tuesday’s padded practice.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein, Williams is a scratch for Thursday’s preseason finale against Kansas City, but is optimistic he’ll be ready to go for the Packers season opener.
“I think so,” Williams said when asked about playing against the Forty-Niners. “I still don’t want to go out and say that I will be there, but for me to be out here now, I think it’s a definite possibility.”
Regardless, the Packers top cornerback is encouraged by the way his knee responded to his first action on the field in almost four weeks. Williams’ return is definitely encouraging for a Packers secondary that has been banged up throughout training camp.
The Packers have been relying heavily on rookie Micah Hyde and veterans Shields and Davon House to take a majority of the reps at cornerback over the past month. They have each performed admirably, but Green Bay definitely misses their top cover corner in Williams and their top playmaker in the secondary in Casey Hayward.
Hayward has dealt with hamstring issues throughout camp. He returned last week to practice and played against Seattle on Friday night, recording an interception off a deflected Russell Wilson pass, but the second-year cornerback left the game early after tweaking his injured hamstring. Hayward will most likely not play against Kansas City this week.
Green Bay will be eager to get their secondary back to health and see what they have for the season at cornerback with Williams and Hayward back in the mix. It will be interesting to see what Hyde’s role will be on the team once Williams and Hayward return, and who the starting three defensive backs will be in their oft-used nickel defense.