Detroit Lions’ Jared Goff, Jameson Williams connection ‘moving along’ after 3 games

Detroit Free Press

Jared Goff’s first bomb to Jameson Williams went for a touchdown. His second probably should have, too.

Goff underthrew a deep pass to Williams in last week’s win over the New York Jets, and afterwards the Detroit Lions quarterback admitted he still is getting accustomed to Williams’ blazing speed.

“I wish I would’ve thrown it a little bit earlier,” Goff said. “I had to move in the pocket a little bit. That’s one missed opportunity I felt like throughout the game I was thinking about. But yeah, him and I are moving along. It’s much better than it was two weeks ago, with just understanding his speed and what he’s good at and what he likes. So yeah, we’re moving right along, and it’ll only get better from here.”

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Williams, the No. 12 pick of April’s draft, has played 34 offensive snaps in three games since his return from a torn ACL and has one catch — a 41-yard touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings — on four targets.

He ran out of bounds against press coverage trying to catch the first pass thrown his way in his Dec. 4 debut against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and had a TD and a dropped pass in Week 14 against the Vikings.

Williams clocked 20.33 mph on his touchdown catch, according to the NFL’s NextGen Stats, the ninth-fastest time of any player that week.

Against the Jets, Williams got behind cornerback D.J. Reed on a go route from the New York 45-yard line early in the second quarter. He pulled away from Reed at about the 20-yard, but had to cut his route short near the end zone to wait for the ball.

Goff’s pass hit Reed, who was chasing Williams, in the back at about the 1-yard line.

Before Williams’ debut, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson said Williams’ playing time would depend in part on how quickly he and Goff were able to develop chemistry. On Wednesday, Johnson said that remains a work in progress.

“I think it is coming along,” Johnson said. “We try to push Jamo a little bit more every week in terms of the routes we’re asking him to run, not just for the game, but also for his development and for Jared’s chemistry with him. We’re trying to see what he’s capable of, and what he’s comfortable with at this point coming off that injury. So I think we’ll continue to see a growing connection between those two. It’s just time on task.”

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Unsung hero

Kalif Raymond earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after his first career punt return touchdown against the Jets, but Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said cornerback Jerry Jacobs was an unsung hero on that play.

Jacobs was not supposed to play on the punt return unit last week, but talked his way into the jammer role — a position he’s played at various points this season — after a film session early last week.

“We had a lot of respect for No. 34 (Justin Hardee) their gunner,” Fipp said. “They had moved him around right and left, and they put him where they thought the ball was going to be more often than not. And we knew it was going to be a tough matchup for us, so we talked about that in the meeting room and then after the meeting Jerry Jacobs came up to me and said, ‘Hey Coach, I want No. 34.’

“Well, we didn’t have Jerry on that unit going into the game because he was starting at corner and he was going to play more on the outside there for us. And he came up to me and said, ‘Hey man, I want to be in there.’ And I think that’s also a testament to the returner and Leaf, and those guys believe in him and they want to make plays for him.”

Jacobs, playing the right jammer position, forced Hardee to alter his course just enough as the two ran downfield to give Raymond a clear return lane off the catch.

Raymond split both Jets gunners and broke to his left, away from Hardee, where he picked up a block from James Houston and took his return down the Lions sideline for a touchdown.

“That was a great play, great play to be a part of,” Fipp said. “But it was an effort of a lot of people.”

Injury update

Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow did not practice Wednesday, but is expected to play Saturday against the Carolina Panthers. Ragnow, who was listed as a non-participant on the Lions’ estimated practice report Tuesday, has played most of the season through a toe injury.

Safety DeShon Elliott (shoulder), guard Kayode Awosika (ankle), fullback Jason Cabinda (illness) and offensive lineman Matt Nelson (not injury related) also did not practice Wednesday.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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