Tuesday was by far the craziest day I have had as Dallas Cowboys blogger. It was supposed to be a day off from work for me, yet as it tends to happen I needed to go in to work. On my way home I check my phone frequently, hoping to hear of some news regarding Pacman (he's back to "Pacman" for me) and I read he's been suspended just as I got home. I jump on my computer and immediately fire up Blogging The Boys. I quickly post the news and then start searching the net for other news sources regarding the suspension. That's when the news broke that the Cowboys were negotiating for Detroit WR Roy Williams. I immediately enter internet overdrive, constantly refreshing nine or ten sports news sites while at the same monitoring BTB. As the trade deadline came and went, there were rumors of a completed deal but it just so happened that nearly all Cowboys related sites started to crash. Awesome. Yet while I was frantically doing my best to update the website I had a huge smile on my face.
I loved the trade.
It pains me to read and hear various ill-informed and poorly prepared pundits talk about how the Cowboys got fleeced in this trade. They harp on the "exorbitant amount" the Cowboys gave up or how the they "brokered the draft" for one player. Puh-lease. The Cowboys still have nine draft picks remaining, with at least one in each round except the first. And make no mistake about it, the Cowboys would have been drafting a reciever in either the first or second round, and ideally would have made a run at Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree. Only problem is Crabtree will most likely go in the top ten; for the Cowboys to trade up to that spot they would have had to give up much more than a first, third and sixth. So instead of losing a slew of picks to nab a receiver where it's uncertain if he will adapt to the NFL, the Cowboys in essence only gave up a first round pick for a proven receiver. I'll take that any day.
Quick discussion point: After the draft in April the Cowboys were blasted for not going for a wide receiver, one that they supposedly needed to succeed. Well, now that Jerry did exactly that, most of the media is criticizing the trade. Interesting...
So, what should we expect from Roy Williams? Not a whole heck of a lot if we want to be honest with ourselves. It's going to take time for him to get acclimated to the offense and his new quarterback. He is a big, strong possesion type receiver who works best when he and the quarterback operate with precision timing. His best route is the quick slant, but he is also great at the 12 yard, sideline comeback where the ball is in the air before he even comes out of his break. He uses his body perfectly to block out defenders and has great hands that catch just about anything. He one of those guys where you can just say, throw the ball and he will go up and get it. It just takes some time.
We may not see his full potential for a few weeks at most, but one thing is for certain: Terrell Owens must feel on top of the world. A lot has been made about how Owens hasn't been able to beat press coverage this year and how defenses are sliding their coverages to his side. So far, the wide receivers opposite Owens has yet to make defenses pay enough to force them to spread their coverage more. Miles Austin and Patrick Crayton have made big plays this season, but they have not come on a consistent enough basis. If Williams is singled up on a corner, it's gauranteed he will get open and make the defense pay. If starts getting into a groove with several 12-15 yard catches that consistently move the chains, Owens may start to see the coverages he was abusing last year. And the thought that he will be unhappy because of another big name receiver on the team is preposterous. The man plays with Jason Witten an seems to be fine with it.
Yet while Owens is the primary beneficiary, no one will be put in a better position than Patrick Crayton. Once Williams becomes fully integrated into the offense, Crayton will slide back to his more natural slot position. Crayton's strength is finding the interior holes in zone defenses, and where he has made his biggest plays this season. The majority of his big-gain catches have come when he was operating out of the slot; his 55 yard touchdown against the Cardinals is a perfect example of this. With Owens and Williams drawing the most attention on the outside, Crayton will see plenty of balls thrown his way if he gets open. And now that the Cowboys have a full arsenal of healthy receivers, perhaps we see some more four and five receiver sets. Try to double up Owens then.
I don't even have to bring up how Jason Witten will be benefit from all this.
So what kind of number will we see from Williams this year? Don't expect anything mind blowing. His acquisition is the perfect addition to an already potent offense and will provide the balance that has been needed yet missing in the passing attack this year. If Owens isn't open, chances are Williams is and vice versa. Expect to see the pass coming out faster as receivers are able to get open easier and more frequently. Williams wasn't brought in to be a game changer or to be the backbone on offense. His presence alone will free up the other playmakers on offense and at the same time put him in a system that works and with a quarterback that can get him the ball.
This was a blockbuster trade that many questioned. Yet Roy Williams brings balance and potency to a stellar offense, where it's best players are all poised to benefit. I'd say the trade was worth it.
Now we just have to find out.