Nick Williams eager to prove himself following promotion

Nick Williams, right, on the field during the preseason with Jordan Reed, left, and Roy Helu Jr., is ready to contribute more. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Nick Williams, right, on the field during the preseason with Jordan Reed, left, and Roy Helu Jr., is ready to contribute more. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

After 10 weeks of living out of a portable metal locker in the center of the Washington Redskins’ locker room, rookie wide receiver Nick Williams graduated to an official wooden, and larger, locker along the wall at team headquarters.

The relocation came as a result of Williams’s promotion from the Redskins’ practice squad to the 53-man roster, which became official Tuesday afternoon. (The metal lockers are reserved for practice squad members and often represent a revolving door with players and coming going throughout the season.)

The Redskins made the move after placing fellow rookie Chris Thompson on injured reserve with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Thompson opened the season as the primary punt returner, but then was replaced by Josh Morgan. With Morgan struggling in the punt return department as well, it’s expected that the Redskins will turn to Williams — an undrafted free agent out of Connecticut.

Williams said expressed excitement about his promotion, but had mixed feelings about changing lockers.

“It’s nice, but I hope it doesn’t change my approach. I kind of like my gated community over there,” he said with a chuckle.

The 5-foot-9, 184-pound Williams spent training camp and the preseason as a backup slot receiver, and also fielded one punt — returning it 29 yards. Since then, he has mostly served as a receiver on the scout-team offense. Things will gradually begin to change now, he expects.

“I’m still not sure what my role will be or how that will unfold. I’m just taking it day-by-day,” Williams said.

He expects that the first chance to make his presence felt will come on special teams.

“In the return games: punt return, kick return,” Williams said and added: “in the slot, coverage units. Wherever they feel like I have a place, I feel like I can do it.”

Williams during the preseason recorded seven catches for 51 yards. But he knows that the team’s top slot threat remains Santana Moss. And Williams said he has no problem deferring to the 13-year veteran, who he watched as a Jets fan, where Moss began his NFL career.

“Santana is the man and a great slot receiver and a guy I grew up watching, being from New Jersey,” Williams said. “But I don’t know the extent of my role on offense, maybe down the road I’ll have one, but I think I can do that as well and I’m confident in that area, and if the opportunity comes my way, I’ll be ready. … Having a guy like that who’s willing to unfold all his knowledge to you is awesome. One of the reasons I came here was because of Santana — the chance to learn from him.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

What’s ahead:

● Washington practiced today at 1 p.m. Mike Shanahan and Griffin are expected to talk to reporters after practice.

More on the Redskins & NFL:

Kelly preps for improved Griffin | Davis not surprised about lost bonus

Redskins struggle to stop quick passes | On the awful special teams

Reid: Shanahan deserves a new contract

Redskins get a second chance to face Kelly’s Eagles offense | First look at Foles

D.C. Sports Bog: Paul tackles kids | Foles recruited by HoyasGarcon’s fangs More

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