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Packers pleased with Tramon Williams’ debut at safety

It took all of three plays for the value of Tramon Williams’ move to safety to show up in a real game.

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots tested Williams right away Sunday night, using a concept the Green Bay Packers have struggled to defend in recent years to gauge if Williams needed to knock off any rust as a deep safety.

The idea was simple: Take two eligible receivers and run them across the formation from right to left, tempting the single deep safety to bite down and opening up the deep ball behind it.

Williams took one step in but quickly identified Josh Gordon running deep,  recovering into a perfect position to double cover Brady’s deep throw down the middle of the field. A play design that has recently created so many big plays against the Packers defense resulted in nothing more than a harmless incompletion.

It was the start of an encouraging night for Williams at safety, his new position.

“I like the way Tramon played,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “His range, he played a good football game. First time back there, so hopefully it’s something we can build off of.”

The Patriots hit the Packers with a few trick plays, and Williams later missed a tackle as the last defender on Gordon’s 55-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, but he was otherwise instinctive and aggressive from his new spot. His reliability in coverage stood out, especially in the red zone.

He also made a terrific stop of James White down near the goal line, racing across the field to corral the running back before he could get to the end zone.

“I thought Tramon played well for us,” McCarthy said.

A hamstring injury suffered by starting cornerback Kevin King might require more shuffling in the secondary, but it sounds like Williams will continue to get snaps at safety.

For at least one night, the veteran cornerback proved he can handle what Mike Pettine is asking him to do in the backend. His reliability will be even more valuable if the Packers have to start rookies Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson at cornerback against the Miami Dolphins Sunday.

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