NFL training camps are still in the voluntary workout stage across the league, a time where nothing is decided and positions remain undetermined.
Nevertheless, with no starting positions announced, wide receiver Roy Williams took the liberty of stating his position within the Dallas Cowboys organization for all who may be wondering.
“I said when I first got here, ain't no such thing as me sitting on the bench,” Williams stated while participating in a golf outing with the Cowboys' corporate sponsors. "Never in my life."
What prompted the question was a combination of Williams’ poor 2009 showing coupled with both the emergence of undrafted wideout Miles Austin and the recent drafting of top-rated wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Austin appears to be a lock at one of the two starting positions, having established a great rapport with quarterback Tony Romo en route to a 1,320-yard breakout season.
Opposite Austin, Williams will need to battle Bryant, a rookie whose potential top-10 draft stock dropped considerably due to character concerns following a suspension that sidelined him during the 2009 NCAA season.
That talent, along with Dallas trading up to select him, speaks of the team’s hope that Bryant will be a dynamic force at the wide receiver position, something he cannot do while buried on the depth chart.
Williams, on the other hand, translated a load of talent and high expectations into one of the more dismal seasons among supposed No. 1 receivers last year.
His 38 receptions ranked 107th among pass-catchers, though he fared slightly better in yardage, ranking 67th in the league, at 596 yards.
That (lack of) production was not for want of Romo’s attention. Williams was targeted 86 times by the Dallas signal-caller but came away with the league’s fourth-worst reception percentage, hauling down only 45 percent of balls thrown to him.
It might also be noted that two of the three behind Williams in this metric were rookies (Oakland’s Louis Murphy and Cleveland’s Mohamed Massaquoi) while the third (Bryant Johnson) played on an abysmal Detroit Lions team.
To begin the year Williams may still bear the title of incumbent, if for no other reason than to justify the high price Dallas gave for him when the team acquired him from Detroit in 2008. Especially in the wake of players like Brandon Marshall, Anquan Boldin, and Santonio Holmes going for anywhere from reasonable value (Marshall for two second-round draft picks) to bargain-basement prices (Holmes for a fifth).
That said, if Williams gets off to a similar start in the upcoming year, all the talk in the world will not keep him from the bench in an attempt to give Dez Bryant the opportunity to shine.
Should that come to pass, Williams may just find himself somewhere else he has never been next offseason—unemployed.