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Monday, June 21, 2010
Mini-mailbag: Williams better than Crayton?

By Calvin Watkins

While cleaning up our Cowboys mailbag, we found two good leftover questions:

Q: What position do you think is the weakest on the Dallas Cowboys? Reza Zadeh (El Paso)

A: We could say left tackle and maybe safety, but kicker is the issue. Last season, the Cowboys made 64.5 percent of their field goal attempts between Nick Folk and Shaun Suisham. That ranked 30th in the NFL, the lowest percentage among playoff teams last year. The NFL average for made field goal attempts last season was 81.3 percent.

Enter David Buehler, who has a strong leg. Accuracy, however, is the issue with him.

In the late stages of the 2009 season, Buehler, a kickoff specialist, struggled to make field goals. He said the big problem was getting his technique down. If the Cowboys can fix that -- they've hired Chris Boniol as the kicking coach -- Buehler should fare well. Buehler seems mentally prepared for the job, but a poor field goal kicker hampers a head coach and offensive coordinator in what they're trying to do with the offense.

Q: Roy or Pat? Who do yo like to see? (Christopher Johnson) Parts Unknown

A: I like when people are from Parts Unknown. There was a pro wrestler I knew growing up in New York who was from Parts Unknown.

So, who's better: Patrick Crayton or Roy Williams? Williams has the more established pedigree: University of Texas, first-round draft pick, Pro Bowler. Crayton: seventh-round pick, skills of a No. 3 or No. 4 receiver, a converted quarterback to wideout.

The reality is Crayton has become one of quarterback Tony Romo's more trusted targets. Last season, Crayton caught 37 passes for 622 yards with five touchdowns. In his time with the Cowboys, Crayton has moved from No. 3 wideout to starter. He's not the fastest guy in the world, but he returned two punts for touchdowns last season and is smart enough to read blocks on returns and make people miss.

Since 2006, when Williams reached the Pro Bowl with Detroit (82 catches, 1,310 yards, seven TDs), Williams' numbers have gone down. Every year. Why? It could be skills, technique, offensive coordinator, quarterback or type of offense. But it's clear the Cowboys didn't trust him last season with the ball. Romo ignored him, and coordinator Jason Garrett forgot about him. Don't believe it? Garrett didn't call Williams' number in the playoff loss to the Vikings last season. He got one ball thrown his way. One.

Jerry Jones said he thinks trust isn't an issue between Williams, Garrett and Romo. But it's evident something is wrong. The coaches have been working with Williams on his technique. They want him coming out of breaks better, and then he will start to get those back shoulder fade routes he likes.

Crayton wants out because the team drafted Dez Bryant in the first round. Williams might be out after this season if he doesn't produce. So you ask me who is better? Take Williams. But Crayton isn't that far behind.