Amongst the moves the Green Bay Packers didn’t make this offseason, the one that initially drew the most attention was the team letting all-pro center Corey Linsley walk when he chose to ink a deal with the Los Angeles Chargers. Truth be told, the Packers didn’t have the financial capabilities to sign Linsley, especially after agreeing to a new deal with running back Aaron Jones.
For as good as he was on the field for the Packers, providing a one-two punch with the aforementioned Jones, what Williams brought to the locker room and the sidelines meant just as much. Now that he’s gone and off to play for the Detroit Lions, who takes over as the goofy, dancing, smiling, always positive and reassuring role Williams provided?
One name that jumps to mind immediately is Jaire Alexander. He has an edge to him. He has a carefree mindset, but he can also be a dog simultaneously — just like Williams. While he may not have displayed the dance moves that Jamaal did every week, there’s potential for Alexander to take over as both the class clown and a player who drives winning, as Williams did.
Speaking of the dance moves, grade these puppies out for yourself.
That’ll be a tough task for anyone on the Packers to follow suit with. Jaire has the personality makeup and the spice to do it as one potential candidate.
Suppose he can’t do it. Who else can?
Some people will find this whole exercise to be pointless. They’ll dismiss the value of people who bring the personality, energy, and constant optimism as critical to a team’s success. But think about your own setting for a minute. Who’s better to be around: The person at work who’s constantly venting about everything that is wrong with the world, or the one who will walk in and throw down a dozen donuts for the group to inhale with a smile on their face?
Being around positive people brings out positive environments for those around them. Williams was always that dude in Green Bay. Find a video, photo, .gif — anything where Williams looks pissed or is complaining about something. They don’t exist. And it was an intricate part of the Green Bay locker room and sideline.
There are tons of these clips. Perhaps Williams’ former running mate Jones can carry the torch?
Jones is a unique personality in his own right. He wears the shades on the sidelines after big plays, joins in on the dancing once in a while, and seems not only well respected by his teammates but a dude that provides good vibes.
Those kinds of vibes with those shades on, inject that directly into the veins of all Packers fans. Jones and Williams fed off each other’s energy, no doubt about it. But Williams was always the top-tier guy when it came to the kid-like personality and good juju.
Teammates always have raved about Williams. Green Bay’s backup last year, Tim Boyle, is joining Jamaal in Detroit and couldn’t have sounded more thrilled about sticking as teammates with the high energy back.
“I’ve talked to Jamaal and I talked to Geronimo, as well. It’s just excitement, man. Jamaal and I had a great relationship while I was there for the three years. As you know, he’s high energy, high entertainment. Who would not want to be around Jamaal? When I was on the phone with the Lions’ front office and the head coach (Dan Campbell), I congratulated them for getting Jamaal.”
Others have similarly detailed Williams’ infectious personality. Look no further than a piece via Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com.
“He’s a character. That’s just him. People ask me about him all the time and I tell them that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You guys don’t see what happens when the doors close.” – Allen Lazard.
“Jamaal, you never know what you’re going to get. He keeps you on your toes. His personality, he brings out everybody. When everybody is around him, you see smiles. You see laughing. You even see guys who don’t dance trying to start dancing and learning from him: Lucas (Patrick), he got A-Rod dancing a little bit. He brings a lot of juice.” – Aaron Jones.
The man got Aaron Rodgers dancing or at least attempting to. He gets dudes to step outside their comfort zone while still enjoying a routine practice. That’s what will be sorely missed in Green Bay’s locker room.
For as good of a running back as Williams is, and he’s damn good, what he brought from an energy and personality standpoint to the Packers can’t be replicated. Perhaps a group effort from guys like Alexander and Jones can help fill that void. At least fans will hope so.
Detroit got a good one.