FOX commentator Jimmie Johnson on the sidelines during the NFC Championship game at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois on January 21, 2007. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson, like most of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to be sure, doesn't believe Roy Williams is on the same page as Jason Garrett and Tony Romo. He said as much on Tuesday, during a visit to Valley Ranch as the Cowboys prepared for the Thanksgiving Day game against Oakland, and offered his take on the hitherto failing experiment.
Johnson suggests that Dallas should allow Williams to operate in his comfort zone in order to build confidence, before expanding his role.
"Receivers in some ways are a little like a golfer, they get in streaks," Johnson said. "I remember Michael Irvin’s second year, we had a training camp where he was dropping everything and so it was a matter of us pulling back and saying let’s work on the things that he does well and gradually expand it some of the other routes."
At this point, the team would likely try anything. Last Sunday's 7-6 win saw Williams catch no passes, a game after which the veteran receiver was accused of playing scared by any number of critics, not the least of which was Washington safety LaRon Landry, who explained in detail this belief to the Redskins official blog after the fact.
Williams responded to Landry today in the press; Cowboys fans are waiting for him to respond, in some meaningful way, on the field. In order to do this, Johnson says, coaches must aid Williams in rebuilding his confidence.
"Say in your mind, you’re dropping a crossing route, time after time," Johnson said. "Well, let’s stop throwing the crossing route, because in his mind, he’s saying, ‘Oh no, I’m going to drop it, I’m going to drop it. Don’t drop it, don’t drop it.' That seed's planted: 'don’t drop it.' Well the seed's planted to don’t drop it, so what do you do? You drop it. And so let’s just pull away from that. Let’s start throwing that comeback where he knows he’s going to catch it, he catches it every time.
"Catch it, catch it, catch it and then occasionally sprinkle in a crossing route so where he’s had some success to build that confidence back up."