Jon Kitna 'just as good' as Tony Romo
After Monday night's loss against the New York Giants, when Tony Romo suffered a broken clavicle that will sideline him for at least six to eight weeks, Williams declared that backup Jon Kitna is "just as good." After a few days of practice, Williams isn't backing off that statement.
The 30-year-old Romo, who has a 39-22 record, has been a Pro Bowler in three of his four seasons as a starter. The 38-year-old Kitna has a 46-69 career record and has never been selected to a Pro Bowl.
"I don't think there's any dropoff," Williams said Friday. "I think Kitna threw for 4,000 yards two years in a row on [losing teams]. I think if he had those stats playing with the Cowboys, he would have been a Pro Bowler, too. But he got overlooked because he played for the Lions."
Williams' comments are meant to be an expression of confidence in Kitna, not a shot at Romo.
Kitna, whom the Cowboys acquired in a trade for cornerback Anthony Henry before last season, hadn't played a regular-season down in more than two years until Monday night. He'll make his first start since Oct. 5, 2008 on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While Kitna appreciates Williams' confidence in him, he isn't interested in comparing himself to Romo.
"To me, that's what you do. You support the guy who's in there," said Kitna, who was 16-of-33 for 187 yards and two late touchdowns after relieving Romo in a 41-35 loss to the Giants. "That's not a knock on Tony or anything like that. I'm not trying to be as good as Tony. I'm just trying to play at a high level for this football team."
Williams had his best seasons catching passes from Kitna in Detroit. He made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2006 when he had a career-high 1,310 yards and seven touchdowns on 82 catches. He followed that up by catching 64 passes for 838 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games the next season.
Kitna threw for 4,208 yards with 21 touchdowns and 22 interceptions for the 3-13 Lions in 2006. He threw for 4,068 yards with 18 touchdowns and 20 interceptions for the 7-9 Lions in 2007, his last full season as a starter.
It took Williams more than a year and a half to establish a rapport with Romo after arriving in Dallas as the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade in Oct. 2008.
Williams was considered a major bust after catching only 57 passes for 794 yards and eight touchdowns in his first 25 games with the Cowboys. But he's been a bright spot in the 1-5 Cowboys' disappointing start, catching 21 passes for 306 yards and five touchdowns, making several tough catches and not dropping any passes.
Considering his history with Kitna, it was somewhat surprising that Williams was held without a catch Monday night for the first time this season.
"It was our first reunion back in live action, so it was kind of rough," Williams said. "But now we're back. We're clicking again. I love seeing him in the huddle. I just hope it's a storybook ending for him and this football team."
Coach Wade Phillips and several Cowboys have stated their belief that they can win consistently with Kitna at quarterback. Williams has been the most adamant.
"I just think he's an all-around good quarterback," Williams said. "I've played with him. I know what he's good at. I just see it and I know it. I just hope that he comes out Sunday and proves to people that he can play in this league and play for this football team.
"If we were to win the game, I don't want people saying, 'Oh, it's just the Jacksonville Jaguars,' because everybody gets paid in this league. I want people to give Jon his due."