ALAMEDA -- Tyrell Williams’ first Raiders season hasn’t gone smooth. A nasty bout of plantar fasciitis took the wide receiver out of two games and off-track in his quest to prove he’s a bona fide No. 1 option.
Williams has five touchdowns in six games played and is averaging a solid 15.4 yards per catch, but he also had a few costly drops in a Week 8 loss to the Houston Texans that affected the outcome.
“It hasn’t gone exactly how I wanted, especially with everything with my feet,” Williams said Tuesday. “I have started feeling a lot better and I’m ready to take off and play like I know I can play.”
Williams opened the season showing just how good he can be. He had six receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown in a Week 1 win over the Denver Broncos. He was draped in coverage after that, while the receiver corps was depleted while in transition. The touchdowns still came but the big yards didn’t, and then his feet acted up and slowed him down a while.
At long last, Williams is getting back to full health.
"I feel really good," Williams said. "It’s mostly about getting healthy and feeling like myself. I know I can make every play, so I wanted to get back to feeling 100 percent. I feel like getting there now. I have a ton of confidence and I feel like, over the rest of the season, I’m going to show what I can do."
He is hitting 100 percent in time for Thursday night showdown with the Los Angeles Chargers, who employed him his first four seasons.
Williams is a chill dude, but even he admits extra adrenaline comes with playing his friends and former teammates.
“I stay pretty even-keeled, but I’m going to have a little more juice this week,” Williams said. “… It’s going to be a lot of fun. I know a lot of guys on the team still. I’m excited to play them. I went against those guys for four years, so it’s going to weird going against them on a game day. It’ll be cool, though. I’m excited about it.”
Williams was excited about the opportunity to prove he’s a No. 1 receiver. He held that title in 2016 with the Chargers, his only 1,000-yard season. The Chargers have tons of receiving talent with Keenan Allen at the top, but the Bolts still believe Williams has the tools required to be a top guy.
“It’s his work ethic, his football IQ,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “You know he can line up all the way across the ball at receiver. You know he can read coverages. He can get open. He developed into a good route runner. He developed into catching the high point of the ball down the field. You know you see him doing that more and his size. He’s a physical presence. He’s a tall receiver with speed.”
Antonio Brown was going to be Oakland's head honcho until he went nuclear, leaving Williams as the Silver and Black's top target.
“[That title] is something I’ve wanted, something I’ve always worked for,” Williams said. “Being with the Chargers, we had a lot of good receivers. I think that helped to see how those guys did it. My second year, I kind of had that opportunity and I feel like I was able to do well. Getting here, I’ve been fighting through injury and now I’m ready to get back to how I was playing at the start of the season.”