One of the few Green Bay Packers players older than 30, cornerback Tramon Williams started last season slowly, before turning it on midway through and having a fine campaign. The veteran is a near lock to be on the roster in 2014.
In the Packers' playoff loss to the 49ers, cornerback Tramon Williams played all 64 snaps and was targeted nine times in coverage, allowing two receptions for 19 yards, with an interception of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Jeffrey Phelps / Associated Press
By Paul Imig
FOX Sports Wisconsin's Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. Check every weekday through mid-April for his latest report.
Season stats: 17 games (1,124 snaps; 98.9 percent of total defensive snaps), 85 tackles, 10 missed tackles, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, 14 passes defensed, 27 stops (solo tackles that resulted in offensive failure); targeted 93 times in coverage, allowing 53 receptions for 714 yards, four touchdowns
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: 6.6 (ranked No. 2 out of 26 Packers defensive players; ranked No. 24 in the NFL among qualifying cornerbacks)
Best game: Playoff loss vs. San Francisco (played all 64 snaps; one interception, three passes defensed, two tackles, one missed tackle; targeted nine times in coverage, allowing two receptions for 19 yards; 3.6 PFF rating)
Worst game: Week 6 win at Baltimore (played 67 of 70 snaps; zero interceptions, zero passes defensed, two tackles, one missed tackle; targeted one time in coverage, allowing one reception for 31 yards, zero touchdowns; minus-2.0 PFF rating)
Looking live: Tramon Williams turned 30 years old in March 2013, entering him into rare territory as a player on the Packers roster who wasn't a twenty-something (there were only four players older than 30 on the team at the time). Expectations hadn't decreased for Williams, though. After starting all but one game between the 2010-12 seasons, Williams had proven to be durable, even playing through a troubling shoulder injury. Despite Green Bay having a deep group of quality cornerbacks (including Casey Hayward, who was coming off a fantastic rookie season), Williams was going to be counted on in a significant role once again. He was ranked No. 13 on FOXSportsWisconsin.com's pre-training camp series of "Most Important Packers in 2013." However, prior to training camp, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said that both starting cornerback jobs were up for grabs, meaning Williams' spot as a starter wasn't guaranteed. Then, on the third day of camp, Williams suffered a knee injury. Coach Mike McCarthy said that he was "not concerned on a serious nature" but expected Williams to be out for a couple weeks. It turned out that Williams missed nearly four weeks, which included three preseason games and 16 practices. Williams' extended absence left plenty of time for the rest of Green Bay's cornerbacks to make their claim to take the veteran's spot, but it didn't happen -- especially after on his one and only preseason snap he intercepted a pass.
Upon further review: Williams' one very successful preseason snap didn't carry over into the early stages of the regular season. He went the first 10 weeks without forcing a turnover and, though his knee wasn't an issue, Williams just wasn't the difference-maker the Packers needed him to be. After Green Bay's early Week 4 bye, Williams was asked to play the slot, something that he had previously never done in his career. It wasn't a demotion necessarily, but if Williams had been playing outstanding football earlier in the season, the Packers wouldn't have moved him to a position at which he had no experience. Soon, though, Williams was playing as well as he ever had. Whatever mini-slump he'd been in was gone, and on Nov. 22, Green Bay's coaching staff agreed that Williams played his best game of the season in Week 11, with Whitt adding that it was "probably one of his finer games since we've been working together." It was in New York against the Giants that Williams recorded his first interception of the season, and that was a jumping off point for him. In Week 15 at Dallas, Williams had a memorable interception late in the fourth quarter when he picked off Tony Romo to clinch the Packers' huge comeback victory. Williams finished the season very strong after that, forcing a key fumble in Green Bay's Week 17 win over the Bears and intercepting Colin Kaepernick in the second quarter of the wild-card round game (a play that concluded with Williams plowing off Kaepernick after a 17-yard return). It was also another very healthy regular season for Williams, who played more snaps than any of his defensive teammates (98.9 percent).
Overall 2013 grade: B-plus
Status for 2014: Ninety-eight percent chance of being on Green Bay's active roster to begin the 2014 regular season. Around October 2013, it sure seemed unlikely the Packers would hang onto Williams the following season, especially at his $9.5 million cap number in 2014. More than likely, had Williams continued playing at that sub-standard level, the Packers would have forced a restructure of his contract. That almost certainly isn't going to happen now, not after the way Williams played at the end of the season. Sure, he's 31 now and Green Bay did re-sign Sam Shields and has Hayward ready to take on a big role, but Williams was one of the Packers' top four defensive players and appears to have plenty left in the tank. The 2014 season could mark his last year in Green Bay, though, as Williams will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason and, rare Julius Peppers signing aside, general manager Ted Thompson usually isn't one to hand out any substantial money to 32-year-olds. But, for at least one more season, Packers fans with No. 38 jerseys hanging in their closets can rest assured that Williams will be back.