Thursday, December 31, 2009
Despite drops, Romo confident in WR
By Tim MacMahon
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo insists that he still has confidence in struggling receiver Roy Williams.
Williams, who leads the league with 10 drops this season, said Wednesday that he didn't blame Romo and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett for not getting the ball to him in the second half of Sunday night's win over the Washington Redskins. Williams perceived that as proof that Romo and Garrett had lost confidence in him after he failed to catch two passes that hit him in the hands before halftime, one of which was rebounded by Redskins safety Reed Doughty for Romo's only turnover of December.
"No one has lost any confidence in Roy," Romo said Thursday, adding that he appreciated that Williams wanted to improve. "Roy is going to be a huge part of this going forward. He knows that. Hopefully, we're all going to have some good football ahead of us."
Williams has failed to fulfill expectations since arriving from Detroit in a blockbuster trade last season. He has only 38 catches for 596 yards this season, while Miles Austin has emerged as a Pro Bowler since getting his first start in October while Williams nursed a rib injury.
In the middle of the season, Williams explained his struggles by saying that the passes Romo had thrown to him weren't as accurate as the ones thrown to Austin, a statement that brought criticism although it was true at the time.
However, Romo's throws to Williams have been on target recently. They just haven't come his way often. Romo targeted Williams only seven times in the last two weeks. He caught two passes for 18 yards and a touchdown; four other throws hit him in the hands.
After Sunday's win, Williams said he'd drop fewer balls if given more opportunities. He reflected on that statement over the next few days and reversed field.
"That's not on them," Williams said, referring to Romo and Garrett. "I don't blame them. I blame myself. I've got to get my crap together and try to help this team win some games in the playoffs."
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones and head coach Wade Phillips both expressed confidence in Williams on Wednesday afternoon. Although Williams said if he didn't improve, he would "mess around and be on the sideline," there is no indication that his starting job is in jeopardy.
"I think we'll continue to give him the opportunity to make plays," said Jones, who gave Williams a five-year, $45 million contract extension last year. "He'll be on the field."
Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.