Jason Williams said he's surprised

Coach Wade Phillips has said for weeks the team was evaluating the talent on the roster. But nothing was being done until today.

The Cowboys released linebacker Jason Williams, a third-round pick from the badly constructed 2009 draft class. Williams was the first pick of that draft but an ankle injury, his inability to grasp the defense and a lack of consistency on special teams forced the Cowboys hand.

"Yeah, I'm surprised," Williams said of being cut. "I thought I was improving and geting to the point of playing the way they want me to play."

Phillips thought he could move Williams to an inside linebacker position with the goal of becoming a starter in a few years. All it did was cause the Cowboys coaches frustration.

Williams was so bad in pass coverage that Jason Wittenbeat him on a head fake during a walkthrough practice in Oxnard, Calif.

Out of a possible 23 games, Williams was active for just 10 and that was mainly on special teams. He missed the first three regular season games of the 2009 season while he recovered from a sprained ankle but never really caught on.

In the Week 3 victory over Houston, Williams recorded his first carer tackle on defense. It was probably too late.

Williams joked that maybe he should see reps at outside linebacker, and that is probably a more natural position for him, but the Cowboys feel Victor Butler and Brandon Williams are better.

With the Cowboys letting Williams go, it sends a message from Phillips, finally, the team is no longer going to accept lackluster efforts or player's who can't produce.

This is the first step in doing that, sure it was difficult to do, seeing this was the first pick of the 2009 class, but it had to be done.

"I felt more comfortable inside," Williams said of inside linebacker. "I was learning different positions and I was fine taking my time."