Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams entered the 2010 season as one of the most ridiculed players in club history. His enormous contract combined with a stunning lack of production made him an eyesore to his coaches and the team's fans.
But as Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas writes today, Williams has been the least of the Cowboys' worries this season. He has half of the team's 10 passing touchdowns and he and quarterback Tony Romo finally appear to be on the same page. So what happened to cause this turnaround?
"He's playing at a high level," receivers coach Ray Sherman told Watkins. "He's bought in to what we expect of him. He really stays steady and focused and [is] playing very well. The technique things, he was accustomed to doing certain things at Detroit and so he's bought into it here."
Watkins made an interesting point about an adjustment that Williams has made as a route-runner:
"He comes out of breaks lower to offset defenders from controlling him at the end of his routes," writes Watkins. "Williams uses his arm strength more to push off corners who try to jam him off the line of scrimmage. Now he's a receiver who creates separation ... and while he isn't the fastest guy in the world, he's quick enough to become a threat."
For those of us who'd already closed the book on Williams' career in Dallas, it's been a pretty remarkable story. I think most of us had blamed Williams more than his coaches for his lack of production in '08 and '09. But now that he's putting up solid numbers and finding the end zone on a regular basis, it makes me wonder whether Williams received too much of the blame.
It still looks like he'll be playing for another team in 2011 (if there's a season), but at least he'll go out with a bang. And perhaps it won't take him quite so long to acclimate in his next destination.