Such a statement is abundantly obvious, as well as applicable to any receiver on the payroll going into 2009 (barring draft-day dealing on behalf of one Jerry Jones).
The criticism has rained down on Williams since Terrell Owens was released; and, honestly, none of it seems all that ill-conceived. Of course, Williams spent last season (ostensibly) getting used to a new system and a new quarterback; it wasn’t a smooth and graceful transition.
Williams caught just 19 passes in 10 games as a Cowboy last year.
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This is where releasing Terrell Owens becomes a source of some concern for even the most fervent-T.O. hater; assuming the worst -- that Owens was a distraction, that he frowned at times during games, etc. -- you still can’t argue the fact that he was a legitimate number one receiver.
Not so much for Williams. True, he has been the “number one” receiver on just about any of the teams he’s played for (Odessa Permian, Texas, Detroit, etc.), but this pseudo-pedigreed past is muddied by the fact that (a) most of the teams he has played for have been, um, less than impressive and (b) his NFL numbers, aside from the “number one” title in Detroit are somewhat suspect.
Namely, Williams reached the 900 yard plateau once in four years with Detroit, and he never scored more than 8 touchdowns; Owens had ten TD catches and 1000 yards in 2008, in what was considered a relative “down year.”
Of course, the Lions were never as good, in those years, as Dallas is now, Williams will presumably be more comfortable in the system, a bigger target in Owens’ absence, etc.
It could, I suppose, be the perfect storm for a breakout season from Williams; he certainly seems to have the tools. But as it remains now, Williams is a 6’2, 220 pound question mark.
Deion Sanders said that he “smelled panic,” when Williams was first signed. A couple weeks ago, he reiterated his thoughts, saying: “Now that TO is gone -- ‘Oh Roy -- what have you done?’ The fans are going to see it, and I tell you what, by week 7 or 8, all hell is going to break loose or all these questions are going to be answered. I know what’s going to happen: all hell is going to break loose.”
Troy Aikman added that, if Williams failed to develop in Dallas, the deal to acquire him would go down as one of the biggest busts in the history of the league.
Both of these sentiments have some truth to them; and while I’m not quite as convinced as Primetime, the chance that all hell will break loose is a very real one, in the wake of a monumentally ugly end to 2008.
We live in unsure times and Roy Williams is receiver with unsure credentials; this is not an aberrance at the moment.
Because when Williams suits up this fall for his first game as the no.1 receiver of the Dallas Cowboys, he will do it as a part of a team and a receiving corps that is, more than anything else, unsure.
So Roy Williams has to prove himself in 2009. What else is new?
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