Scouts Inc.: Williams deal adds talent, intrigue in Dallas
The Cowboys gave up a lot to get their man, but owner Jerry Jones now has one heckuva weapon to draw some attention away from wide receiver Terrell Owens today -- and to fill his shoes tomorrow.
If wide receiver Roy Williams isn't already a top-tier player, he's well on his way to getting there. He has a great frame, good speed and is a strong runner after the catch. At age 26, he already has an 82-catch, 1,310-yard, seven-touchdown season under his belt. Moreover, a return to his native Texas (where he also played in college) and the jump to a contender should sweeten his attitude, which had soured in Detroit.
Williams won't put up flashy numbers immediately, and maybe not at all while Owens is in Dallas. But his effect on the Cowboys' offense could be immediate. He can be very effective on the quick slants, deep posts, deep takeoffs and shallow crossing routes in coordinator Jason Garrett's scheme. Defenses that recently had gotten results out of pressing Owens at the line and rolling a safety over the top no longer can double T.O. without a second thought. The new lineup will force opponents to pick their poison: Owens, Witten or Williams.
Garrett now has virtually unlimited flexibility in designing formations. Williams will need time to adapt, but he has enough experience to be very effective right away within a limited package (say, three-receiver sets). From there, Garrett can bring the receiver up to speed on more of the playbook each week, expanding his role gradually.
As for the downside, the Cowboys basically gutted their 2009 draft to acquire Williams. But give Jones credit: He is doing everything in his power to win a Super Bowl now, when Dallas seems ideally poised to make a run. And if Williams signs a long-term deal -- which is very likely, and soon -- the cost to give T.O. a running mate for a few years and ultimately replace him seems more reasonable.
Of greater concern is the chemistry in Dallas. Owens has had problems sharing in the past, and Williams hadn't been a happy camper for a while in Detroit. Will there be enough balls to go around, particularly in an offense that also boasts possibly the best 1-2 rushing tandem (RBs Marion Jones and Felix Jones) in the league? Someone needs to step forward and assume a leadership role -- a player, a coach, the owner -- to make sure all eyes remain on the prize. For a team with this much talent, the season already was Super Bowl or bust. And with Williams on board, the Cowboys have inched even closer to that goal.Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.