This past Sunday the Dallas Cowboys faced off against the Washington Redskins to kick off their 2010/2011 National Football League season. Jerry Jones, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, new $54 million dollar man Miles Austin, and the rest of the Cowboys crew were all there.
But did Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams bother to show?
Last week, former Cowboys and Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin said that the Cowboys have no shot at winning the Super Bowl because of Mr. Roy Williams. Irvin said the Cowboys are playing “10 vs. 11” with him on the field because his presence is pretty much non-existent.
Irvin went on to say that once rookie Dez Bryant gets going and replaces Williams in the line-up, he’ll change his pick and choose the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl.
Folks, I couldn’t make this up if I tried. Irvin’s a former Cowboy, so he knows more about the inner workings of the organization than this crackpot reporter. But last I checked, Williams registered more than 30 catches and had seven touchdowns for Dallas last season.
While it can be argued that bringing Roy to Dallas has been a disappointment for Dallas, scoring 42 points as a receiver is no small feat.
But is Irvin right about Williams as a receiver? Is he largely a non-existent presence on the football field? Let’s take a look at Roy’s stats.
Sunday against Washington Roy Williams caught three balls for 21 yards. I know, looks paltry, but Roy’s biggest catch of the game was ruled null and void. Williams caught the game winning touchdown pass for the Cowboys, but a holding penalty voided the catch and subsequently ended the football game.
Too bad for Roy.
Last season Roy caught 38 balls for 597 yards and seven touchdowns. When he was first acquired by the Cowboys it was believed that Williams would become Robin to Terrell Owens’ Batman. But when the next offseason arrived, Owens was let go and Williams assumed the role as the team’s No. 1 receiver.
Somebody just forgot to tell Miles Austin.
So in Roy’s first full season as “head man,” he mostly performed as a Romo’s second option.
Delving a little deeper into Roy’s stats in 2009, Romo targeted Williams 86 times and he caught 44 percent of his passes. Basically Roy was able to haul in less than half of what Tony threw in his direction. That number can be a tad bit misleading because of sailed balls, overthrows, and just plain miscommunication.
Roy has also been known to drop a few and that 44 percent does not represent dropped balls.
Also, according to Football Outsiders, Roy Williams had a negative 8.2 percent DVOA ranking, or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average. Basically, the better the number the better the receiver. If the number is a negative, then in essence, Roy’s performance was pretty bad on a per game basis.
In comparison to Roy, Miles Austin’s rating was a healthy 28.3 percent, which was fifth best in the league. Miles was also targeted more than Roy as Romo threw 38 more balls in his direction, so that gives Austin a better chance to catch more passes and to have a greater presence in the game.
As a conclusion to Irvin’s argument, he’s dead wrong. Starting Roy Williams is not like being one man down for the Cowboys, that’s just ludicrous. Roy may not be the receiver the team believed they were receiving, but he’s far from being non-existent.
Scoring seven touchdowns with only 38 catches is a nice little stat for Roy to hang his hat on. I, like Irvin, have been one of Roy’s biggest critics.
But Roy’s impact being marginalized with such a weak argument just shows Irvin’s dislike for Williams, not his play on the field.
If Williams is able to gain more of Romo’s trust as the season goes along then he may be able to turn a few heads.
Just don’t expect Michael Irvin to shake his hand on the sideline anytime soon.
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