Jamaal Williams

Detroit Lions
Running Back #30
Detroit Lions
Running Back #30
Photo: Icon Sportswire

Jamaal Williams News

Leads team in carries

Williams ran for 43 yards on 13 carries and caught a nine-yard pass on one target against Green Bay on Sunday.

Analysis: Williams' 13 carries led the team while D'Andre Swift ranked second with seven. The deal with Williams is clear enough by now: he's a running back coaches trust to pick up the blitz and hold on to the football, and he'll always run with determination. His ability to actually produce from scrimmage grades less favorably, and gives reason for the Lions to contain his snap count going forward. He finishes 2021 with 601 yards and three touchdowns rushing on 153 carries (3.9 YPC) while catching 26 passes for 157 yards on 28 targets (92.9 percent catch rate, 5.6 YPT). While Williams might not be a roster lock for the Lions in 2022, he has one more year left on the two-year, $6 million deal he signed with Detroit before this season.

Jan 9, 2022 1:59 PM EST

Leads backfield

Williams ran for 22 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries and caught three passes for 22 yards on three targets against Seattle on Sunday.

Analysis: Williams' usage was surprisingly high given the return of D'Andre Swift, who was believed to be fully cleared from a shoulder injury, but Swift only saw four carries and three targets. It's not clear whether Swift's shoulder or anything else influenced the game plan, but it's worth noting that Swift had more yardage on one carry (31) than Williams did on his 11. Williams faces his former Packers teammates in Week 18.

Jan 2, 2022 5:56 PM EST

Headed back to No. 2 role

Williams is expected to drop to second on the depth chart for Sunday's game against the Seahawks with lead back D'Andre Swift (shoulder) making his return to the lineup following a four-game absence, Justin Rogers of The Detroit News reports.

Analysis: In last week's 20-16 loss to the Falcons, Williams made his return from a two-game absence caused by a positive COVID-19 test. While Swift was sidelined for his fourth straight game that week, Williams stepped in as the lead option out of the backfield. Though he still played only 42 percent of the snaps on offense while operating in a timeshare with Craig Reynolds (40 percent), Williams was fed the ball when he was on the field, as he carried 19 times for 77 yards. Reynolds, meanwhile, served mainly as a pass-catching/change-of-pace option, but the return of Swift -- who isn't expected to face restrictions Sunday after practicing fully all week -- may leave Reynolds without much of a role. Williams will see a reduction in usage as well, though he's managed to earn double-digit touches in six of the eight games this season in which both he and Swift have been active.

Dec 31, 2021 4:47 PM EST

Approaches 20 carries

Williams rushed 19 times for 77 yards during Sunday's 20-16 loss to Atlanta.

Analysis: Back from the COVID-19 reserve list, Williams picked up another start with D'Andre Swift (shoulder) sidelined for a fourth consecutive game. However, both Craig Reynolds (four targets) and fullback Jason Cabinda (two) were more involved in the passing game, and Reynolds also stole 11 carries from him. While Williams should again be the lead ball carrier in Week 16 against Seattle if Swift remains sidelined, it seems clear that he won't monopolize backfield touches given Reynolds' emergence.

Dec 26, 2021 2:00 PM EST

No Swift in return to lineup

Williams and Craig Reynolds will serve as the Lions' primary running backs Sunday in Atlanta, Tim Twentyman of the team's official site reports.

Analysis: Detroit opted to keep D'Andre Swift on street clothes for a fourth consecutive contest as he continues his recovery from an AC joint sprain in his shoulder. Williams is back in the lineup after missing two games on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and he'll split reps out of the backfield with Craig Reynolds. Considering Reynolds reeled off 216 yards from scrimmage on 40 touches during Williams' absence, the former could be the early-down runner Sunday while Williams serves in a change-of-pace role.

Dec 26, 2021 8:57 AM EST

Comes off COVID list

The Lions reinstated Williams (illness) from the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday.

Analysis: Williams missed the Lions' last two games after testing positive for the virus Dec. 10, but he looks like he'll be able to get in a full slate of practices Week 16 to put himself on track for a return to the lineup Sunday in Atlanta. Before missing time, Williams served as Detroit's lead back in the team's Week 13 win over Minnesota while D'Andre Swift (shoulder) was out of the lineup. Swift is expected to resume practicing this week and could put an end to his three-game absence in Atlanta, so Williams may be headed back to the No. 2 role for the rest of the season.

Dec 20, 2021 3:31 PM EST

Not activated from COVID-19 list

Williams (illness) wasn't among the Lions activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, meaning he'll be sidelined Sunday versus the Cardinals.

Analysis: Williams thus will miss a second game in a row after testing positive for the virus back on Dec. 10. With D'Andre Swift (shoulder) also unavailable, Detroit elevated Craig Reynolds from the practice squad to join forces with Godwin Igwebuike and Jermar Jefferson out of the backfield. If their usage from a Week 13 loss at Denver is any indication, Reynolds and Igwebuike will split most of the reps afforded Lions running backs Sunday. Williams' next chance to play will be Sunday, Dec. 26 in Atlanta.

Dec 18, 2021 1:32 PM EST

Tests positive for virus

Williams' placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday was the result of a positive test, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Even if he's vaccinated, Williams' positive test rules out the possibility of him playing Sunday in Denver, as he would have to be asymptomatic of the virus for 48 hours and test negative on two occasions at least 24 hours apart following his positive test Friday. According to Schefter, Williams went through practice Friday before being informed of his positive test, leaving the Lions concerned that other players may have contracted the virus or be considered close contacts. The team will administer another round of testing Sunday to be sure no other players need to be added to the reserve/COVID-19 list, but with top back D'Andre Swift (shoulder) sidelined along with Williams, the Lions will likely turn to a committee of Jermar Jefferson, Godwin Igwebuike and Craig Reynolds out of the backfield.

Dec 12, 2021 5:33 AM EST

Placed on COVID-19 list

Williams was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.

Analysis: With D'Andre Swift (shoulder) officially ruled out, the Lions may be down to Jermar Jefferson and Godwin Igwebuike in the backfield for Sunday's game in Denver. Even Jefferson hasn't been healthy this week, missing two practices with a flu bug that's been going around the locker room, though he did return Friday as a full participant.

Dec 10, 2021 1:13 PM EST

Totals 80 yards in Swift's absence

Williams rushed 17 times for 71 yards while catching his only target for nine yards during Sunday's 29-27 win over the Vikings.

Analysis: While Williams clearly operated as the lead running back in the absence of D'Andre Swift (shoulder), he was hardly used as a receiver after seeing five targets in Swift's absence last week. However, the fact that Detroit surprisingly played with a two-score lead for parts this game probably played a role in that development. With Swift seemingly in line to miss a second game in Week 14 against Denver, look for Williams to get another huge workload with more upside as a receiver than he showed against Minnesota.

Dec 5, 2021 1:43 PM EST

Ready for lead role

Williams is set to led the Detroit backfield with D'Andre Swift (shoulder) ruled out for Sunday's game against the Vikings, MLive.com's Benjamin Raven reports.

Analysis: Williams could be tasked with a heavy workload after finishing with 15 carries and five targets last week when Swift departed with a shoulder sprain in the second quarter of an eventual 16-14 loss to the Bears. Depth backs Jermar Jefferson and Godwin Igwebuike both got a few snaps, but the combined for just two carries/targets (both to Igwebuike) while Williams piled up 20.

Dec 3, 2021 12:15 PM EST

20 touches in relief of Swift

Williams rushed 15 times for 65 yards while securing five of five targets for 18 yards during Thursday's 16-14 loss to Chicago.

Analysis: D'Andre Swift (shoulder) exited for good in the first quarter and Williams went on to handle his largest workload of the season. Even though a 19-yard scamper probably made his final stat line look more efficient than it really was, Williams barely shared any of the remaining work with fellow backups Godwin Igwebuike or Jermar Jefferson. Should Swift need to miss Detroit's Week 13 matchup with Minnesota, Williams could be in store for a bellcow workload against a Vikings defense that has been middle-of-the-pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs in 2021.

Nov 25, 2021 2:42 PM EST

Seven carries in return to lineup

Williams rushed seven times for 11 yards during Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Browns.

Analysis: Williams ran hard in his return to the lineup, but he was bottled up while D'Andre Swift totaled 136 rushing yards on 14 carries. With Swift playing so well lately, it may be hard for Williams to return to the 12.7 total carries and targets he averaged in seven games before hurting his groin. However, Jared Goff (ribs) may remained sidelined in Week 12 against Chicago, and Tim Boyle totaled just 77 passing yards in his place. Such limited success may given Detroit no choice but to commit to the run game, and Williams would be an obvious beneficiary as he further distances himself from his multi-week groin injury.

Nov 21, 2021 5:14 PM EST

Returning to action Week 11

Williams (thigh) is active for Sunday's game at Cleveland.

Analysis: Williams hasn't played since Week 7 due to a thigh injury. Fortunately, the Lions had a Week 9 bye during that stretch, so he'll miss just two games as a result. D'Andre Swift will continue to operate as Detroit's lead runner, but with Jermar Jefferson (ankle) sidelined, Godwin Igwebuike is the only other reserve running back on the active roster. Prior to his absence, Williams averaged 12.4 touches for 58.7 yards from scrimmage per game and scored two rushing TDs.

Nov 21, 2021 8:36 AM EST

Expected to play Sunday

Williams (thigh), who is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Browns, is expected to play barring a setback, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Williams has been sidelined for Detroit's last two games, but he appears to have a better shot at playing this week compared to the previous two contests after practicing on a limited basis Wednesday through Friday.

Nov 21, 2021 1:28 AM EST

Questionable for Week 11

Williams (thigh) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Browns, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.

Analysis: Williams has been sidelined for Detroit's last two games, but he appears to have a better shot at playing this week compared to the previous two contests after practicing on a limited basis Wednesday through Friday. If the Lions determine that Williams will need another week off, Godwin Igwebuike would be in line to serve as starter D'Andre Swift's clear top backup. The other running back on the Lions' 53-man roster, Jermar Jefferson (knee/ankle), has already been ruled out for the game.

Nov 19, 2021 1:22 PM EST

Remains limited in practice

Williams (thigh) was a limited participant in Thursday's practice.

Analysis: Williams hasn't completely moved past the thigh issue that has kept him out of action for the Lions' past two games, but the fact that he's opened Week 11 prep with consecutive limited practices is a positive sign with regard to his chances of playing Sunday in Cleveland. Before missing action with the injury, Williams had seen a solid amount of work as the Lions' No. 2 back behind D'Andre Swift (shoulder) averaging 12.4 touches per game through seven outings. Assuming both backs are able to shake off their respective injuries and suit up against the Browns, Williams may not immediately step back into as sizable of a role as he held previously, but he should at least see more work behind Swift than depth options Jermar Jefferson (ankle) and Godwin Igwebuike did in the previous two contests.

Nov 18, 2021 1:49 PM EST

Back at practice

Williams (thigh) returned to practice Wednesday as a limited participant.

Analysis: Williams should have a shot to make it back for Sunday's game in Cleveland, after sandwiching a pair of absences around a Week 9 bye. D'Andre Swift is likely to lose some snaps and touches with Williams back in the mix, though the former Packer had already seen his usage decline before missing time with a thigh injury. Williams hasn't recorded even 70 total yards in a game since Week 1 and hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3.

Nov 17, 2021 1:17 PM EST

Ruled out

Williams (thigh) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against Pittsburgh, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.

Analysis: Williams still hasn't returned to practice and now will miss a second straight game on the other side of a Week 9 bye. His absence could leave a few more carries for D'Andre Swift, who has done most of his damage through the air this year while averaging just 3.2 YPC. Godwin Igwebuike and Jermar Jefferson both got some playing time off the bench in a 44-6 loss to the Eagles in Week 8, but only after Swift had played 96 percent of offensive snaps through the first three quarters of the blowout.

Nov 12, 2021 12:43 PM EST

Another absence Thursday

Williams (thigh) missed Thursday's practice.

Analysis: Williams didn't suit up Week 8 due to a thigh issue, and even with the benefit of a bye he hasn't mixed into drills with just one session remaining during Week 10 prep. On a semi-positive note, he was seen running on a side field Wednesday, so the Lions may be exercising caution with the fifth-year pro. Friday's practice and ensuing injury report could be telling for Williams' ability to suit up Sunday in Pittsburgh. Behind top running back D'Andre Swift, the Lions have rookie Jermar Jefferson and Godwin Igwebuike at the position.

Nov 11, 2021 2:16 PM EST

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