38 receptions. 596 yards. Nine drops.
Rather eye-popping numbers for a No. 1 wide receiver–just not ‘eye-popping’ in the manner in which Cowboys’ fans would hope.
Has Roy E. Williams’ production to date warranted him keeping the starting job this season? Of course not. Is his stay in Dallas about the money? The Cowboys would be lying if they said Williams’ contract isn’t at least partially the reason he will be on the roster in 2010.
So why are we supporting Williams’ return as the starter in 2010, particularly when one of the Cowboys’ major problems over the last few years has been supplying players with jobs they have not earned?
Call us crazy, but we think Williams is going to turn it around in 2010. The man has been jeered basically non-stop since he arrived in Dallas. We would be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of Cowboys fans who yearn for Williams to even return to the squad in 2010, much less remain the starter.
It isn’t as if these criticisms are unwarranted. Even Williams knows it. In a recent interview with the Star-Telgram‘s Clarence E. Hill, he said, “I felt like I didn’t do anything last year. I dropped balls and what not. I didn’t think my name would be on top of the drop list ever in my life. It was a humbling experience. It showed me I better get my life together.”
Those are the words of a man who has lost confidence. Williams’ struggles the last two years are not due to a lack of talent. Let that soak in. Roy E. Williams is an immensely talented wide receiver with outstanding body control and, believe it or not, top-notch hands. We would go as far as to say he has some of the best hands in the entire NFL. Surprising for a man with nine drops last season? Confidence, or a lack thereof, can do amazing things to people.
“I better get my life back together,” Williams stated. Not his game. . .his life. Being successful in life is about knowing who you are and having confidence in yourself as a person. A player must be confident in life before he can be confident on the football field. Right now, Williams is neither.
Thus, Williams primary offseason priority shouldn’t be running routes, or catching balls, or hitting the weight room (of course none of those things are discouraged, Roy). No, Williams should do whatever he can to regain his confidence. His mojo. His swag.
And what is the best way to regain one’s ‘swag’? By competing of course–a task Williams is relishing this season. “I’m here to fight for my job,” Williams has claimed. “I’m ready to battle. I think I will win. That’s my mentality.”
And battle he will. Some insiders have already proclaimed that Williams will have to hold off undrafted second-year receiver Kevin Ogletree to retain his starting job. This competition may be just what Williams needs to thrive.
True champions aren’t those who perform well when everything is going according to plan, but those who flourish in the face of adversity. This is undoubtedly a time of adversity for Williams.
So get that swag back, Roy. Be cocky. Be brash. Talk smack–and then back all of it up on the field.
Come September, we will find out if Roy E. Williams has truly regained his confidence. We will find out if he is ready to compete. Most importantly, we will find out if he is a true champion.
Never bet against a man who has nothing to lose.
We hear it all the time when discussing Ole Miss athlete Dexter McCluster.
“He’s too slow.”
“He’s too small.”
“The Cowboys already have three running backs.”
The first two complaints are legitimate concerns which NFL teams will have to factor into their grade for McCluster (although he proved his speed at his Pro Day and football is quickly becoming a ‘small man’s game’).
However, the last criticism (and that which we hear most often from fans) is unjustified. Yes, McCluster can play running back and Dallas is loaded at the position.
Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t think the Cowboys should trade or release any of their backs. So how would there possibly be room for McCluster? Because any return man as potentially devastating to the opposition as McCluster can and should make the roster regardless of their position.
Would you like your return man to play a position where he can have a huge impact? Sure. Last time we checked, though, there aren’t too many left tackles returning kickoffs (now wait…does Raiders returner Gary Russell count?).
Further, McCluster can have a huge impact at positions other than running back. Remember, he is a tremendous slot receiver with the potential to take the ball to the house every time he touches it. The NFL is evolving in such a way that these smaller, quicker players are becoming in vogue. McCluster is nearly the same weight of DeSean Jackson when he was drafted.
In a way, McCluster’s offensive prowess is a bonus for the Cowboys. The team was so unsatisfied with Patrick Crayton’s return ability last year that they signed return specialist Allen Rossum at one point. Rossum of course got injured on his first touch, but the point is that any player who figures to contribute on offense or defense will instantly be providing more than Dallas had planned for Rossum.
Who would you rather have on your team: an aging return specialist or a dynamic athlete will sensational return ability who can play the slot, run specialty plays (Wildcat, end-arounds), and even handle a few carries a game?