Has a rapport been built between the franchise quarterback and rookie who will begin his career as the Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver?
“It’s good,” Romo said recently. “He continues to grow, and each week he gets better and better. I think we’ve just got to keep doing things that come up at his position over and over, and what specifically he’s going to see a bunch. They’re little things, but he’s grasping it, and each time I communicate with him he seems to get it after that. That’s a real good thing.”
Romo doesn’t shy away from communicating with Williams in a direct, even blunt manner. For example, Romo confronted Williams in the huddle after a miscommunication in the preseason dress rehearsal, when Romo threw the ball as if he anticipated a comeback route, only to have Williams continue to sprint upfield.
Williams, who missed the first preseason games and several practices while recovering from a concussion suffered during training camp, acknowledges that he’s had some difficulties executing the intricacies of the Cowboys’ offense. He knows the playbook, but the checks at the line of scrimmage and built-in route adjustments based on coverages have given him some problems.
When those problems arise, it’s Romo’s responsibility to let the rookie know about it.
“He just expects you to know what you’ve got to do,” Williams said Friday. “You’ve got to continue to gain his trust. The more he trusts you, the more chances you’ll get to make plays.”
Williams, who starred at Baylor, doesn’t take it personally when confronted by Romo or other veterans. He understands that they’re getting on him because they want to help Williams play to his potential as soon as possible.
“I think anytime you’re going to play on our offense, I’m going to be tough on you, just because we have such a high demand for what we’re going to put out on that field and what production we want from everybody,” Romo said. “I’m going to be tough on myself and I’m going to be tough on those guys, and they know that. That’s part of it. If you’re going to run with the first team, you have to know what you’re doing, and you have to run it the right way.”
Williams is confident that the tough love and practice reps will pay off. He said he’s at the point where he isn’t slowing down to think on the field.
“It’s just a matter of knowing the play from the get-go instead of trying to think about it and then run your route,” Williams said. “Beforehand, it was more of not playing fast. Now, when he changes something, I can just turn on the light and go.”