Packers Tramon Williams: 2012 Player Evaluation and Report Card All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Tramon Williams
Tramon Williams

1) Introduction: Packers CB Tramon Williams has often been used as an example of GM Ted Thompson’s undrafted “gems.” Picked up by Green Bay during the 2006 season, he slowly worked his way into the starting role and became a big reason for the team’s Super Bowl run in 2010. Tramon has embraced his path openly, using the slogan “Unwanted 2 Untouchable” on his personally-sold merchandise.

2) Profile:

Tramon Vernell Williams

  • Age: 29
  • Born: 03/16/1983, in Houma, LA
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 191
  • College: Louisiana Tech
  • Rookie Year: 2006
  • NFL Experience: 6 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: To say Tramon Williams had a “down year” in 2011 is an understatement. An early shoulder injury appeared to make him a shell of his former self, who just a year prior caught 9 interceptions across the regular season and postseason. With the shoulder close to 100% and ready to go, Packer nation expected Tramon to once again become the shut-down, playmaking cornerback from their championship season.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Tramon Williams gave Packers fans the boost of confidence they were looking for in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears. He was not only instrumental in shutting down WR Brandon Marshall, he also snatched two interceptions to help seal the Bears’ fate. Unfortunately, those were the only two interceptions Tramon would have all year. His low point of the season was easily the dismal performance he gave against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17. In addition to his lackluster coverage and abysmal attempts (?) at tackling Adrian Peterson, Tramon kept a Vikings’ fourth-quarter touchdown drive alive with a completely unnecessary hands-to-the-face penalty.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: It could easily be argued that both Sam Shields and Casey Hayward were more productive cornerbacks than Tramon Williams by the end of the season. However, we also have to balance that out with two things: (1) Tramon was asked to do more within the defense, and (2) he was often tasked with covering the opposition’s best wide receiver. His coverage skills, though not quite at the level we had expected, were a lot better than in 2011; nevertheless, it wasn’t up to par with expectations, and his lack of support in the running game dropped his value rather steeply.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Tramon Williams actually improved his performance significantly from the Week 17 game to the Wild Card game against the Vikings. His pass coverage was better, and though still far from desired, his run game also improved. Tramon’s run support continued to get better into the Divisional round against the 49ers, but he struggled in the passing game. He allowed 6 of his 8 targets to be caught for a total of 87 yards. His two holding penalties also gave the 49ers a couple of free first downs.


Season Report Card:

(C-) Level of expectations met during the season

(B) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(B-) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: B-


Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski


  • FireMMNow

    B- is generous. This guy has not been the same since he got paid. In 2010 he was a guy that would throw his body around. In order for this defense to work you have to have corners that will support the run like safeties. Tramon appears to have no interest in it. I hope his starting spot is up for grabs next year when house is healthy. Teams ran to the right on us because of two factors: Walden and Tramon. Both are well below average run defenders.

    • Chad Toporski

      I think Tramon was more than just an average player this season, but not by a whole lost. Had he been just average, I think things would have looked much different in the secondary. You also have to consider the fact that Williams was the only permanent fixture among the cornerbacks all season.

      • Stroh

        I don’t think Tramon lived up to expectations in any way. He was average at best in that regard. I would give him a D+. Expected much better.

  • Oppy

    Well, now I am going to chime in on the grading, go figure.

    From ‘Expectations coming into the season’:

    “Packer nation expected Tramon to once again become the shut-down, playmaking cornerback from their championship season.”

    the grade given for Level of expectations met during the season:


    I think it’s fair to say, if that was the expectation (to be the shut down corner, play-making player he was in 2010) Tramon did not accomplish that goal, he clearly fell short.

    I take no issue with the idea of either

    grading based on expectations met (which would be a pure grading of the player against himself; indicating development and growth/stagnation/or decline)


    Grading based on level of play comparatively to other players across the league playing the same position in similar scheme.

    So, I feel their is some inconsistency perhaps in how you are applying the grade in this case.

    I fully believe Tramon played at a B- level, if you took all of the CB’s in the league and compared their play. No question.

    But, per the definition of your grade, he did not satisfactorily meet the expectations as you defined. In that respect, he clearly does NOT deserve a B-.

    Perhaps next season, the solution is to keep the expectations/ expectations met grade (I think this is important, especially given that the Packers are a firm draft-and-develop system, so we can gauge growth and forecast positions that are in decline), but also give a more traditional grade for performance level, which is a flat assessment of “if they stink or not”, based on the players’ level of play vs. the rest of the league.


    • Oppy

      Perhaps another idea for all of you graders out there:

      Maybe it would be a good idea, the week before the season opener, to write down and publish each player’s “Expectations for the season”.

      In this way, we the readers will be aware from the get-go of what the criteria that player will be graded on will be from the get go, and, for you guys- the graders- you will not be in a position to have to scan back through your memories and be forced to remember or perceive what the expectations were 5 months ago.

      In the NFL, our picture of what is and what should be can change drastically in just a matter of a week or two!

      • Chad Toporski

        I actually like that idea… We’ll have to make that a sticky note for a few months from now.

    • Chad Toporski

      As I posted below, I think you make a valid and accurate argument. Looking back, I think somewhere between a D and C- would be more accurate as far as “Meeting Expectations” goes.

    • BartyS

      So after lecturing us about how we should not be confused by the grader’s decision to give AJ Hawk a B based upon some unintelligible set of “expectations” (at least to many of us) you are now, after the Williams B- grade, as confused we all were.

      Welcome to the club Oppy.

      • Oppy

        AJ Hawk was clear cut, Barty.

        AJ Hawk is what he is- nobody thought he would be anything but what he has been coming into the year.

        He performed markedly better than he has in the past; he received a grade for expectations met that reflected that.

        In this particular case, Williams did not meet the expectation set forth.

        I can’t comprehend how you don’t understand the difference.

      • Chad Toporski

        Yes, unintelligible set of expectations… Simply because I don’t factor in his paycheck? Give me a break. You probably couldn’t name me the top 10 paid Packers players with their salary numbers without looking it up.

        Why? Because it’s a moot point. That’s something the team has to worry about in personnel management. The coaches don’t grade the players after each game based on what they’re making. They grade them on how well they executed their assignments.

        • BartyS

          AJ Hawk performed “markedly better” than he has in the past?

          Oppy are you referring to the guy who wears #50 for the Packers? The one who had no interceptions to go along with no fumbles forced … and no fumbles recovered … and no passes defensed?

          The fact Hawk was just his usual mediocre self is why most of us can’t understand the B grade.

          • Oppy

            There’s more to football than splash plays, Barty. Not much else I can tell you.

            If you didn’t see Hawk playing better than he has in years, then you didn’t actually watch Hawk play; you just read a stat sheet and made your own assumptions.

            He wasn’t a superstar, but he was good, and better than he’s been in a long time.

          • Chad Toporski

            Charles Tillman had 10 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions this year. He was also on the field for 939 snaps. Are you saying that what he did on 1.4% of his snaps would define his season and overall performance?

            • mike sherman

              You are missing the point guys. Paycheck has to be factored in because its a reflection of what the team expects out of a player. You are forgetting that Hawk received the big contract the year Barnett was out, forcing Hawk to move to the middle. I remember the first game that season Hawk didn’t play a snap. When he filled in for Barnett shortly after the start of the season he played every down, ran the defense, and was legitimately a playmaker. AFter that season he got the big contract because TT was expecting that level of play to continue. In no way, shape or form is he doing that. He doesn’t stay on the field in dime because he can’t cover anybody, doesn’t QB the defense, and is a weak tackler- which is why he never forces a fumble. Any top LB in the league is able to force and recover turnovers, cover TE’s and RB’s, blitz effectively, and deliver punishing hits in the running game. If you can’t do any of those things—- AJ HAWK, than you really should not be making any more that average to slightly above average. He stays healthy and is mediocre. I think the coaching staff and front office expect more, which is why they are cutting him. He is not living up to expectations.

  • Lucas

    Agreeing with FireMM, a B- is still generous despite taking on the top receivers. While in man coverage, I did not expect shut outs, but being 4 yards off the receiver on 10 yard hitch routes and deep digs is 3 yards beyond my expectations. In zone coverage, I had to think D-coordinators taught RBs to seek him out. He was an easy 4 yards there as well. There were moments when he used “hunch play” instead of veteran savvy.
    To me, his play was always 3 yards off.

  • Dobber

    “However, we also have to balance that out with two things: (1) Tramon was asked to do more within the defense, and (2) he was often tasked with covering the opposition’s best wide receiver.”

    I’ve said it before about Tramon. When he had his “breakout” season, he was playing opposite a future HOF player in CWood. He wasn’t asked to do the things above, and probably looked better than he really was. Our expectations shoot way up.

    Now he’s on the other side, and the fact that we wanted him to be a shutdown corner doesn’t change the fact that he probably never was. This is not intended to necessarily defend his play: I’m sure he welcomed the pay jump and the opportunity to be that guy. If you ask for that, you need to live up to it.

    While we might still be seeing some tentative play in support due to past shoulder issues, if he really still has issues with the shoulder, then he needs to have them addressed. If not, then he’s got to get his head on straight and play.

    Either way, I think he’s a better-than-average corner, but not a shutdown guy.

    • Chad Toporski

      It’s analagous to what happened with Sam Shields. In his sophomore season, Shields was asked to take on more responsibilities, and he struggled mightily. It wasn’t that he didn’t play as well as his rookie year, just that he didn’t improve and wasn’t prepared to handle the increased role.

    • Oppy

      During Tramon’s 2010 campaign, he WAS posted on the opposition’s best receiver.

      And, for what it’s worth, I don’t think it was Charles Woodson on the other side of the field that had any impact on Tramon’s play then vs. now.

      Think about the critiques that Lucas pointed out. You don’t play tighter man coverage because a great CB is on the other side of the field, and you don’t play off your man because you lack a great CB on the other side of the field.

      If Tramon’s perceived drop in performance in coverage is due to a change in the personnel around him, the logical conclusion would not be due to a change at Cornerback…

      It would be a change at SAFETY, which is exactly that- a safety net for the CB.

      The loss of Nick Collins and the loss of experience he brought to the deep backfield can not be understated.

      As a CB, when you KNOW the safeties are on the same page, when you KNOW if you whiff on a tip or pick, or if a guy gets the jump on you, that your over-the-top shell is where it’s supposed to be and will pick up your slack, you are afforded the opportunity to play tight, aggressive coverage without fear of giving up the TD.

      If Williams is under performing due to team mates, it’s because he doesn’t have Collins and his direction backing him up.

  • B- if we’re grading on a ridiculously generous curve. His performance against the Vikings the final game of the regular season was so pitiful, it should drag his entire grade down.

    If 2011 was a down year, due to injury, what was his excuse in 2012 for not wanting to tackle anyone? Or getting behind receivers on a fairly regular basis?

    He is a C, at best. And falling.

  • Chad Toporski

    I think you all make some good arguments in respect to the “Expectations” grade. In retrospect, that part should have been lower, though I think I would still stand with my overall grade.

    This was actually the very first evaluation I did this year. Not an excuse, but I probably refined my approach as I went through the players.

  • skyler

    You have to also look at Salary vs. Performance. Based on the money Williams is making compared to his peers, he was C – / D+. There are corners in the NFL that both cover and run tackle well and make far less than Williams. If Williams doesnt have an adjustment in attitude this off-season, he will not make the roster.

    • mike sherman

      Love your comment Skyler. I was going to say that I don’t see Tramon being on the team after 2013 unless he really improves. He makes way too much money for what we are getting. Tramon could even get away with making absurd money if he was still a terrific cover corner like he was in 2010, but thats not the case. He may not even be the best cover corner on the packers. I remember one of the many reasons we switched to the 3-4 defense was so our corners could come up and takle to protect the outside. Remember when we played man to man, if outside contain was lost the opposing offense always would rip off a big gain because al harris, mike mckenzie of C woodson would have their backs turned covering. The way Williams plays the run he may as well have his back turned. Williams was also responsible for the worst single play last season. Against the Vikings at the end of the regular season, the Vikes FB went split out for a play. It was the only “receiver” on the side of the field Williams was covering. Williams played off him 8 yards at the snap of the ball, seeing the cushion being given, Ponder threw the FB the ball. Williams ran up and blew the tackle and the FB gained 20 yards or so. The fact that our best and highly paid cover corner couldn’t cover the FB is the worst play of 2012. We should draft another CB in the first 4 rounds this year and cut Williams after next season. Terrific find by TT being nondrafted but not nearly worth the contract. Doesn’t intercept the ball anymore either.

  • SDPackfan

    I think a B- is a fair grade for Tramon but have no clue how the grade was arrived at after reading Mr. Toporski’s analysis.

    I thought I was confused by the AJ Hawk B grade but may be even more confused by this one.

    • Chad Toporski

      Get over yourself, buddy. Go troll somewhere else.

      • Barutan Seijin

        People who disagree with you are not necessarily “trolls”. Besides, what’s the point of putting these up if not to generate discussion? As a writer, i want people talking about my stuff.

        • Chad Toporski

          If you can’t see the difference between how SDPackfan has commented and how I’ve responded vs. how most other people have disagreed and how I’ve responded, then there’s not much I can say to you.

          • JimR_in_DC

            Chad, and the rest of you contributors, please don’t get too upset by the responses by us readers. I think it’s safe to say we all appreciate your work and enjoy these evaluations, even when we disagree with them. The back and forth banter is interesting, sometimes harsh. Thick skins are desirable.

            Keep up the good work Chad, and I look forward to more from you and the rest of Al’s great team of contributors.

  • Shavager

    Whether you want to say his coverage skills were average or better, the fact is he is a tackling liability on the field for Packers. The Vikings and Peterson were laughing on the sidelines during the first season meeting when GB, that “Chicken” Williams was SCARED to tackle Peterson. He did nothing in the final season game or the playoff game to disprove what’s now obvious to any fan watching–he will NOT take on RB’s or TE’s with the ball. The best shot he will give them is a push out of bounds or grab a leg or arm as they go by–but if he can’t get out of the way–he’ll go the other way-run out of the play to avoid tackling–go back to the Niners game–he made a tackle on a receiver if he was locked up, but he did not run down Kaepernick, Gore or Davis and make a tackle. I think D+ is being generous compared to what he used to be–don’t know if it’s a mental thing-but GB can’t count on this guy to make THAT game saving tackle to win a game or title. If he’s no better in pre-season or early season-time for some trade talk.

  • Ron LC

    Williams was the biggest disappointment of any DB. His tackling skills have degraded to non-existent. Coverage was spotty, at best. He must start his conditioning and strength training right now. Can’t afford a Corner that plays that weak.

  • Epy

    I feel like tramon played tentatively; and not particularly physical. Maybe he was worried about the shoulder? Might take him another off season to get going fully. The poor safety play probably had something to do with it too. The good news is he’s capable, the bad news is i think tramon is a decent player that requires good players around him to be consistently good. He isn’t elite on his own like say Matthews, I think we need another breakout player on defense, like a safety or linebacker to really get the Packers decent players to look/play better. Just some loose thoughts

    • Stroh

      Possible breakout players. Perry, Neal, Manning, Hayward, House, Shields, McMillan and thats just on D. Perry is almost essential, we need him to be physical in run support and give some effective pass rush. Neal started to last year, so I’m expecting continued growth. Manning is my personal favorite for breakout, but its contingent on Hawk being released. McMillan could be the physical safety we need if he learns faster than expected. The D is not far from being as good or potentially better than ’10 D.

  • Mikey

    Are you “The Chad from the Charlies Angel movie?