Packers' Tramon Williams moving from cornerback to safety

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- And the replacement for former Pro Bowl safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is ... a cornerback.

The Green Bay Packers have moved Tramon Williams to safety, giving them a veteran -- albeit one playing a different position -- in the middle of their defense to play against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Sunday night.

Williams has some safety experience in his past, most recently late in the 2016 season with the Cleveland Browns. At defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's request, he will get the first chance to replace Clinton-Dix, who was traded to Washington for a fourth-round pick on Tuesday.

"It was just a quick call from the coach asking me what I think about the move," Williams said. "It really wasn't much of a conversation. I was willing to do anything for the team. I played this position before, so it won't be that big of a transition."

Pettine left open the possibility that multiple players could be used at the position, but he said Williams' experience played a role in the decision.

"This is a rangy player who can run, has a very high football IQ, and he can find the football," Pettine said. "He plays with good vision and has a good sense when to break. Some guys can only play outside corner. ... He doesn't fall into that category. He's played in the slot; he's played outside. There's no reason to think he can't, at times, help us at safety."

In addition to his time with the Packers, Williams played for Pettine when he was head coach of the Browns. His playing time at safety there, however, came the year after Pettine was fired.

"I don't think anything mentally changes for me at all," Williams said. "At this point, I get a chance to really see the whole field, understand what's going on. From a corner perspective, I look at it the same way, but it's harder sometimes to see the whole field as a corner because you're on one side.

"From the middle of the field, you get a chance to see the picture and you get a chance to see it from a different view. I think that's going to help out a lot because that's one thing that I do study. I do study offenses, I do study formations, I do study people. Where they get lined up on the field, it tells you a lot of things, so I better communicate to guys all over the field, which was one of the things that I recognized when I play inside. When I play inside, I got a chance to communicate a little bit to everybody on the field. At corner, you can't really communicate with many people at all."

Williams, 35, played the first eight years of his career in Green Bay and then had stints with the Browns and Cardinals before he returned to the Packers this offseason.

During his first go-around with the Packers, he witnessed Charles Woodson move from cornerback to safety with a high level of success. He also played with Clay Matthews in 2014, when Matthews temporarily and successfully moved to inside linebacker.

Williams actually moved spots last week against the Rams, too. He played the inside cornerback position after rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander returned from his groin injury.

That allowed Alexander to play full time on the outside, and Alexander responded with his best game. He broke up five passes and drew rave reviews this week from Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

"He's going to have a great career in this league; we thought that in the draft," Belichick said of Alexander. "... He's a great kid. He's got great energy. He loves football and has great football skills -- fast, athletic, good hands, good ball skills, can tackle, can play inside in the slot, can play outside on the perimeter, good zone vision, breaks on the ball, good man-to-man coverage, has good quickness, can match up with fast receivers, can match up with quick receivers.

"The guy's a really good football player, and I think he's got a great future in this league. I think he'll be one of the top corners in the game for a quite a while here."

Kentrell Brice started most of the season at the other safety spot next to Clinton-Dix. Pettine also has increased Jermaine Whitehead's role, although Whitehead has been limited in practice this week because of a back injury.

There's also the possibility that Josh Jones, a second-round pick last season, could finally see a role on defense after playing just four snaps in the first seven games.