Terrance Williams' speed can be Cowboys' game-changer

IRVING, Texas -- At 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, Terrance Williams doesn’t have the look of a speed receiver. At the scouting combine in 2013, he was timed at 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash, hardly the sign of a speed receiver.

But there is timed speed and play speed, and Williams plays faster.

That was evident in the Dallas Cowboys’ 28-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium.

On Williams’ 60-yard touchdown catch, he eluded Xavier Rhodes at the line of scrimmage, picked up speed as he crossed the field in front of safety Robert Blanton and left Harrison Smith flatfooted. Once Smith collided with Blanton, the closest defender to Williams was linebacker Gerald Hodges.

And Williams found another gear.

“Coach [Jason] Garrett and Coach [Scott Linehan], they talk about it a lot that you need to win the big plays and the big-chunk plays,” Williams said. “I just think the more chances I get with the ball in my hands, that that’s always in the back of my mind to get a big play.”

Once Williams saw the safeties collide, he saw the end zone.

“I didn’t waste any steps on looking behind me,” Williams said. “Just running and trusting my speed.”

The past seven times Williams has touched the ball, going back to the 2014 playoffs, he has touchdowns of 76 yards (vs. Detroit Lions), 38 yards (vs. Green Bay Packers) and 60 yards. For his career he has six touchdowns of at least 38 yards.

For his career, he is averaging 16.8 yards per catch.

“Terrance is one of the best run-after-catch receivers in the league,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “I think he has proven that over and over again. He’s continuing to get better each year in his route running. He took a big step this offseason, and I think he’s going to have a very good year.”

With Dez Bryant receiving so much attention from defenses, the Cowboys will need Williams to win his one-on-one matchups and make defenses pay with his speed. The more viable an option he becomes, the more things will open up for Bryant.

In the spring, Williams took on more roles on and off the field with Bryant missing the offseason program as he awaited his five-year, $70 million contract.

“He listens to coaching, and he just wants to get better,” Garrett said. “He is one of those guys that when you correct him in the meeting or share something on the practice field, he really listens and tries to integrate it immediately. He is like a sponge. I think that is why you’ve seen him grow so much.”

His speed, however, is often underestimated.

“I mean, that’s fine with me,” Williams said. “It’s just one of those things once I have the touchdown locked in my eyes, I just run for it. And I think I try my best to [not] look back. I just run.”