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Tyrell Williams Part 1: the Home Run

NFL: Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In essentially his rookie year, Tyrell Williams had a breakout year statistically. 71 receptions, 1149 yards, and 8 touchdowns. I knew he had a lot of catches because later on in the year the offense was leaning on him from a target standpoint pretty heavily. What I don’t recall is Williams having 8 touchdowns. Half of them being “explosive plays.” With a 6’4 receiver that can run like the wind, I lean toward these explosive plays being sustainable. That’s what we will focus on today. Williams and his explosive scores.

It took only 4 plays into the season for Williams to give us a glimpse of what he was capable of. Williams ran a short crossing route & reached behind him with 1 hand to make a catch. That in itself was tough to come up with. As he’s running towards the sideline, the safety has a perfect angle on him but underestimates his speed ends up diving and whiffing on the tackle. Williams ends up accelerating and picking up 33 yards.

Fast forward a week.

It’s 3rd & 12 against the Jaguars on the opening possession of the 2nd half. It’s actually the same play. The Chargers were trying to get in field goal range. At least that’s what it appeared. Williams had other ideas.

That’s god given ability right there. Pure speed to erase the linebackers angle. Then the strength and balance to get in the end zone. Nothing like converting a 3rd & 12 into a 44-yard touchdown.

A few games go by and Williams has had moderate success. Nothing like we’d see week 5 in Oakland, though. He’d finish the game with 5 catches on 6 targets for 117 yards. This touchdown is why I truly believe his production and big plays can be sustainable. From an offensive standpoint, last year the Chargers had no issues moving the ball. They were above average in yards, points, and success rate per drive. Where they were bad at, and by bad I mean the worst, is holding on to the ball. No team turned the ball over more than the Chargers on a per drive basis. Being dead last in fumbles makes me believe the fumble luck will even out somewhat. Giving Williams more chances to score, just like below.

The Chargers are in 13 personnel with 1 running back and 3 tight ends. It’s 2nd & 10. Play-action draws up the safeties leaving Williams 1-on-1 with a corner and a whole lot of grass. Advantage: Williams.

This is a simple post route. A slight shoulder fake to the outside allows Williams to gain inside leverage. From there, it’s a foot race. Williams isn’t losing a foot race. With the Chargers having so many weapons underneath, they’ll be able to take shots down the field like this with Williams & Travis Benjamin. Williams suits Philip Rivers better down the field. He’ll have ample opportunities to do this next year.

3 weeks go by. 2 against Denver. The Broncos have 3 of the 20 best corners in the league. They erased Williams. He got a taste of what it’s like to go against the cream of the crop. This was a great thing for Williams. As he’d go on to score a touchdown in the next 4 games.

Against the Titans, where he had a 6-yard reception for a touchdown. He also had catches of 12, 16, 19 & 10 yards. So picking up chunk yardage. The following week against the Dolphins looked great on paper. 5 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. That did come on 11 targets, however. He had some issues with contact in this game. But the on his 5 catches, all were 1st downs. His receptions went for 12, 21, 16, and 25. Then there was the touchdown. The Ken Whisenhunt special.

I like how the team used Williams in the slot. I think it plays to his strengths and hides his weaknesses. Usually, Williams is the #3 receiver in trips. Here, Whisenhunt goes quads right and has Williams as the #4 receiver. This is another foot race. Williams on a linebacker. Guess who wins?

The answer is Williams. I’d love to see Melvin Gordon, who is the #3 receiver split out more as a receiver as well. This is what happens when you spread the field like the Chargers do here. There is a mismatch somewhere. Next year more than ever. Williams fakes that he’s going underneath then gets back up-field and that’s all she wrote for the poor linebacker.

The next week in Houston Williams received a staggering 14 targets. The majority of his work came against free agent prize to be A.J. Bouye. It was a back and forth match-up. Williams has 4 inches on Bouye. Bouye was more physical. Williams won on a few plays. Facing a couple veterans including Jonathan Joseph I’d say the duo won this battle. But it was his 21-yard touchdown that again showed that Tyrell has tools you can’t coach.

1st off, hat tip to Whiz with the dope concept. You know teams are going to give Gates, who’s in the slot, all kinds of attention in the red area. This is a hi-lo concept. Williams is on the outside running a post. Rivers throws Williams open just enough and he hangs on. Here’s another look.

Bouye couldn’t have played it much better than he did. He beats Williams to the break, he tries to go through him and swat it away. Williams is just too big. Another explosive play for a touchdown. Williams also had receptions of 14 & 16 yards this game. He oozes big-play ability.

The final game of his touchdown streak of explosive plays came against the Buccaneers. Bad Tyrell reared its head against Tampa Bay. There were drops. 1 returned for a touchdown. Williams proved he was able to get over that as he bounced back later in the game with a 40-yard bomb. Right in the area where most coordinators like to take a shot down field. Williams is perfect.

It’s a “levels” concept. Derek Watt is running at flat route right off the line of scrimmage. Hunter Henry is running an out route about 10 yards downfield. Williams is running a deep flag route breaking at about 12 yards and running to the pylon. Rivers will start out with Williams and if he likes what he sees, he’ll let if fly. He was able to -get good protection so a check-down wasn’t needed. The safety went to the other side of the field leaving Williams 1-on-1 with Brent Grimes. Grimes in his prime might be able to run with him. Now? No shot.

Williams fakes an inside cut and zooms right by Grimes.

There were more explosive plays from Williams. He was actually 5th in the NFL in receptions over 25 yards with 13. The players with more were DeSean Jackson, Odell Beckham Jr., Amari Cooper, & T.Y. Hilton. That’s the company you want to be in. 69.6% of his receptions went for 1st downs. His big play ability is real and isn’t going anywhere.

These plays best highlight Williams and his natural athleticism. A 6’4 receiver that is faster than 8/10 corners he’s going to face is going to have a bit of success. This is part 1. Part 2 we’ll talk about the not so good part. The drops. But the requisite skill-set goes above and beyond what’s needed. Williams should become only more efficient with the weapons around him now.