Williams is a Cowboys afterthought
Roy Williams’ comments Wednesday were not the type of thing you’d expect to hear from a Cowboys WR — or any wide receiver for that matter — in the NFL.
Instead of bitching and complaining that the ball was not coming his way from QB Tony Romo (sound familiar?), Williams shot us straight and basically told us the truth.
Williams, who was without question the team’s No.1 receiver in training camp, told the Dallas Morning News, “If I continue to do the things I've been doing, I'm going to mess around and be on the sidelines playing special teams. I didn't get a look in the second half, so that's telling me my quarterback has lost that confidence in me and so has the coordinator in calling the play for me. That’s not on them. I don't blame them. I've brought it on myself. I've got to get my stuff together and help this team win some games in the playoffs.”
Beyond the fact that it’s abnormal for an NFL receiver to admit that he alone is the reason for a lack of productivity, there’s something here I want to talk about — because it tells a story about how a season progresses in the NFL.
We have to remember that the Cowboys’ biggest question mark heading into Week 1 of the season was the lack of a playmaker on the outside. Williams was supposed to be the answer, but as the season progressed and the development of Miles Austin continued, Williams, like many players in this league, faded. He became an afterthought, a guy you could go to as a second read in the route. And with an on-field relationship already existing between Romo and TE Jason Witten, Williams essentially became the third option for Romo when he dropped back to pass.
A long cry from training camp in August.
And that’s just it. He hasn’t been consistent, and outside of what I think is a pretty reliable weapon in the red zone, he can’t be counted on at this point in the season. This isn’t a case of trying to beat down Williams; instead, it’s a case of a player like Austin showing the quarterback, the offensive coordinator and the head coach that he’s the one who’s accountable — and the one who can win games for this team.
This it how it works, just like a game plan that’s put together on Wednesday and torn up by the second quarter of Sunday’s game. Teams don’t have time to wait for a player to produce. Either you make plays or you step aside and assume your new role — which can’t be too appealing to Williams.
Quarterbacks know this. Tony Romo knows this. He knows when he drops back to pass that Austin and Witten are the guys who are going to catch the ball, break tackles and make plays in the open field. I saw it all the time during my own career with QBs like Warner, Favre, Brunell, etc. They ride the hot hand and go back to the guys who go across the middle or go up and get the football.
For Williams to admit this — especially publicly — is just stating what we already know. He’s become a second option, the runner-up, the prom date left standing alone at the dance.
But there are still games to play, and a possible postseason run for Williams and Dallas.
There will be another opportunity at some point in January — and he’ll have another chance to show Romo, Jason Garrett, Wade Phillips, Jerry Jones and all of us that he can deliver.
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