Pro Football Weekly Shows Why Cowboys Will Take NFL By Surprise

Daniel NationsContributor IAugust 3, 2009

CARROLLTON, TX - JUNE 16:  Wide receiver Roy Williams of the Dallas Cowboys during mini camp at Standridge Stadium on June 16, 2009 in Carrollton, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

When Terrell Owens left Dallas, he took more than just his baggage.  He took the Super Bowl expectations that surrounded the Cowboys for the past few years.  

And perhaps that is a good thing.

There's little doubt the Cowboys are flying under the radar these days.  The media has bombarded us with the idea that Terrell Owens' departure has left a gashing hole in the Cowboys offense, a hole that was not filled through free agency or the draft.   The detractors point to Roy Williams, who is living in "the player's" shadow, and Tony Romo, who has taken the blame for the team's string late season collapses.

Eric Edholm, senior editor for Pro Football Weekly, says it best: "I am not on the Roy Williams bandwagon this season."  Eric believes Williams to be overrated, pointing out that he has only played like a No. 1 receiver for one season, in 2006 when he had 1,310 yards receiving for the Detroit Lions.  

Just who is on the Roy Williams bandwagon?  Not many.  Certainly not enough to call it a bandwagon.

But should we care what the media has to say?  Eric goes on to say, "I also have high hopes for Miles Austin, who reportedly has had a nice offseason and has a chip on his shoulder after constantly being asked if he can fill the No. 2 wideout role alongside Williams. There are some who think he could be the top receiver."

I think someone forgot to tell Eric that Miles Austin isn't the No. 2 wideout on the Cowboys.  That job belongs to Patrick Crayton.  Nor has Austin been bombarded with questions about his playing ability.  That job belongs to Roy Williams, who has fielded question after question about his ability to be the No. 1 guy on the Cowboys.

Is the knock on Roy Williams fair?

While Williams only has a single season with over 1,000 yards receiving, he does have two seasons with over 800 yards receiving.  In his rookie campaign, he appeared in only 14 games, but caught 54 balls for 817 yards.  And in 2007, Williams was injured for four games, but still managed to catch 64 balls for 834 yards, which is on pace for an 1,100 yard season. 

The problem with judging a player based on a single stat is that it rarely tells the whole story.  It is rare for a rookie receiver to come in and really make a difference, so Roy Williams' 800 yard rookie season is quite impressive.  In his five years in the league, he's only had two sub-par seasons, one of which was complicated by being traded mid-season to a team with an established No. 1 receiver and a Pro Bowl tight end.

But the knock on Roy Williams goes far beyond his stats.  The overriding question is whether or not he can make up for T.O.'s production.  Again, this is the media taking a simplistic approach to a complicated issue.

The truth: Roy Williams doesn't need to make up for T.O.'s production.  

The Cowboys are simply too talented to force feed the ball to a single player.  In addition to Roy Williams, the Cowboys have a Pro Bowl tight end in Jason Witten, a punishing runner in Marion Barber III, an electric runner in Felix Jones, a three-headed monster when you add in Tashard Choice, and a second-year tight end named Martellus Bennett who will be a monster to cover in the red zone.  

Oh yeah, and a guy named Tony Romo.  Many people think he's pretty good too.

While the media wants to point at Roy Williams and ask if he can be a No. 1 receiver, or point to Tony Romo and the team's late season failures, the true onus will be on Jason Garrett to utilize such a wide array of talent.