Trey Williams’ Investment On Returns Could Yield Return On Investment

If you were not familiar with Trey Williams before yesterday’s game, you are not to blame. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ second-year running back had hardly even gotten work in team drills during training camp, and did not play in their team’s first preseason game. Terrell Watson got the load, and all the fanfare.

But after last evening’s game, the door suddenly creaks open for the 5’7” running back—the door that leads to a half-million-dollar paycheck. With a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown, the first punt return touchdown in the preseason for the Steelers in eight years, Williams now has everybody’s attention, and attention leads to opportunity.

It’s not entirely clear why he was getting little to no work most often during training camp in team drills—perhaps he was nursing a minor injury—but with the spotlight now on him, and already having shown the potential to perform, it would not be surprising if he is given more work and a chance to prove himself.

Over the course of the past month, the field for the third running back on the roster has continued to expand. Heading into training camp, it was largely assumed that Knile Davis, the free agent signing, would seize it. Then the veteran Fitzgerald Toussaint showed that he would not go down without a fight.

And then Watson happened in the second half of the first preseason game. I don’t believe the big back even got any work in this one, however. Williams himself did not get any carries on offense—I don’t believe he played any offensive snaps off the top of my head from what I recall seeing—but his work in the return game can lead to more work elsewhere.

In all, Williams returned three punts for 75 yards, a 25-yard average, and he also showed good judgement, calling for a fair catch on a fourth punt and allowing another to go over his head for a touchback. On his first return attempt, he aggressively fielded it in order to advance the ball seven yards in traffic rather than calling for the fair catch.

But there is still a steep hill for him to climb. Now that he is on the radar, he needs to showcase his abilities. Optimally, he will be given opportunities also to participate in the kick return game, which is something that he did in college, returning 70 kicks for a 24.1-yard average over three years at Texas A&M.

He said after the game that there was no way he was going to let the punter bring him down once he reached the left sideline on his return. “Everybody would have just clowned me” had he allowed that to happen, according to Jeremy Fowler.

If he hopes to carve out a roster spot, there can be no clowning around. But first he needs the opportunities in-game to perform. Most of that will probably come in the fourth preseason game. But he could at least be given a chance to return some kicks.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • NickSteelerFan

    Matthew, if the third string RB spot is being looked at as more of a special teams / returner spot (as it seems it is with Fitz and Davis, who haven’t shown a ton in the preseason), do you think this performance puts Trey Williams in competition with them, or just bettering his PS chances?

  • PaeperCup

    Imma gonna be honest, I thought Trey Williams and Terrell Watson was the same guy.

  • Bobby hains

    Lmao me too bro!! That’s funny I wasn’t the only one

  • NYCSteelCurtain

    Yeah same, I was like hmmm Terrell Watson looks smaller.

  • Big White

    The impressive part of that run was the last seven yards. Smart running to let the pursuit over-run the play, then power through the weakened defenders.

  • Dshoff

    So he was also the guy that came running up catching that short punt? Now that was impressive, and something that Antonio can’t seem to get the hang of. NOW I want to see him on kickoffs. He did that in college and I’m not at all impressed with Knile Davis.

  • blue

    Trey Williams made the play, so he stays, Fitz you’re done, Knile Davis fumbling returns and not bringing out the end zone is done too.

  • Darren McKay

    Dude can play, if he gets a screen pass in space he is amazing. Has alot of Darren Sproles type ability. Math probably works against him to make the 53. Went to my college and was a Texas high school big time recruit.

  • Rocksolid20

    PS at best .

  • Douglas Andrews

    Not to nitpick but he really didn’t read the block on the punter well. If he had cut right he easily walks into the end zone untouched. Still i give him credit for muscling his way into the end zone. That said he still looks like PS material.

  • Matt Manzo

    That was my first thought after the pr TD! Let’s see him on KR!!!

  • Frank

    If they keep him as a KR/ST guy, I’m good, but they still need 3 real RBs, Bell, Conner & Watson. I would not let Watson go, as he may be the backup to Conner next year, if Bell isn’t resigned for 2018.

  • Bobby hains

    Yea he seems a tad smaller.. Do u think he will make the practice sgd?

  • NYCSteelCurtain

    Time will tell. We’ll see how he produces on special teams both KO and PR. I’m sure Tomlin and Co. will give him a longer look at both spots in the next two games.

  • Bobby hains

    True… I’m just worried mainly about our back up Qbs situation now.. On Steelers depot it mentioned the possibility of signing C. Kaep..

  • NYCSteelCurtain

    I have trust that Ben will stay upright and healthy this season. Another year under the belt with the OLine gelling together. Look Dobbs isn’t ready, and I didn’t really expect much from a first year 5th round pick. He hasn’t had the full team (AB, Leveon, Martavis, Pouncey, Decastro, etc.) around him either…which says a lot.

    Landry isn’t my favorite but he can fill in a game here and there.

    Wouldn’t mind the Kaepernick signing, he’s proven in the past that he can be a competent player. Just don’t think we need him necessarily.