Cowboys to start 'best player' at WR

Updated: February 26, 2010, 8:12 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams, who is guaranteed $12.9 million in bonuses and base salary this year, will have to compete to keep his starting job.

"We are going to play the best player, no matter what," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said when asked whether Patrick Crayton or Kevin Ogletree could beat out Williams.

Williams has been a disappointment since the Cowboys traded first-, third- and sixth-round picks to the Detroit Lions for the receiver and a seventh-rounder in the middle of the 2008 season. He has 57 catches for 794 yards and eight touchdowns in 25 games with the Cowboys.

Crayton had more yards and only one fewer catch than Williams last season despite serving as the team's third receiver in the final 10 games. Toward the end of the season, undrafted rookie Ogletree got some playing time in two-receiver sets at Williams' expense.

Phillips has said it's up to the coaching staff to figure out how to best use Williams, who signed a five-year, $45 million extension the week after being traded to Dallas. Phillips reiterated Friday that he believes Williams can perform at a Pro Bowl level, as he did when he caught 82 passes for 1,310 yards for Detroit in 2006.

"I think a guy that has been a Pro Bowler like Roy, he's got to take part of it too," Phillips said. "Miles [Austin] has come so far that nobody knew he was going to be that good. He has to maintain being that good, and Roy has to get to that level again."

Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

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