Commentary

Williams criticized for playing scared

Coach Wade Phillips on Romo-Williams: I think they'll work things out

Updated: November 24, 2009, 8:45 PM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- This is going to be a rough week for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams.

He didn't have a catch in the Cowboys' win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday. After the game, Redskins safety LaRon Landry said Williams played scared.

"Yeah. I know he was," Landry told Redskins.com Sunday. "Y'all can quote it, too. Y'all can tell him right now, tell him I'm saying it. I can say it right now: yeah, he was scared, I think. I told him he was scared."

Landry said Williams didn't respond when he heard what was being said.

Williams' production since the Cowboys traded for him last year is a daily subject of debate. He is not ranked in the top 50 in catches among receivers in the NFC. He is 30th in yards in the NFC but not in the league's top 50.

Coach Wade Phillips defended Williams' playing status Monday. When a reporter asked whether Williams should get benched, Phillips said he didn't want to go there.

"If this would happen, that would happen?" Phillips said. "I'm not going to answer that, that's not a question."

Phillips didn't think Williams was pressing but noted that the wide receiver has been fantastic in practice, making shoestring catches and grabbing balls that are high and behind him.

The Cowboys gave up three draft picks to the Lions for Williams in October 2008, then signed him to a contract extension totaling $45 million. It would seem the Cowboys would want more production from Williams (24 catches for 429 yards and 3 touchdowns) in games rather than in practices.

"Jerry's paying him," Phillips said, referring to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. "We saw some good things [against Green Bay, when he had five catches for 105 yards and a touchdown in a loss]. This game, we didn't get the ball to him, and whether he had opportunities or didn't have opportunities, we just didn't get the ball to him. We still think Roy's a good receiver, and Tony [Romo] is a good quarterback, so I think they'll work things out."

The Redskins' secondary wouldn't allow the Cowboys to complete anything near the sidelines. The open spots on the field were in the middle, and the Cowboys didn't execute those plays on a consistent basis.

Still, Williams was thrown to four times. He didn't get a pass his way until the Cowboys' third possession of the game, and that was on a slant route. That pass was almost intercepted by linebacker Rocky McIntosh.

Romo threw two third-down passes to Williams that were high and bounced off his hands. Romo's last throw to Williams, on the second possession of the second half, went over three defenders, but Williams' one-handed stab failed.

Williams said he would rather have no catches and get a win than have a big game and lose. His thought process stems from playing nearly five seasons with the Detroit Lions, who never made the playoffs while he was there. Williams has a chance to make the postseason here, but his contributions have been minimal.

"It's not frustrating at all," Williams said after Sunday's game. "Eventually, somebody is going to make a play, and we just needed one play and we've been trying to ride our defense this season because they've been playing their butts off. We're a good enough offense to score 30 points a game, but we've been tripping lately."

As for the allegations that he was scared, Williams wasn't available Monday to respond. Meanwhile, Landry talked about scaring wide receivers such as Williams.

"That's my job," Landry said Monday. "I'm just doing my job. I'm not going out there and saying I'm trying to make every wide receiver scared of me. That's the mentality I'm going to have within myself, but sometimes it comes out with a little trash talking or whatever. But that's my job."

Calvin Watkins covers the Dallas Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. E-mail him at calvin.watkins@espn3.com

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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