Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Can Roy Williams Handle the Job?

texas-longhorns-logoRoy Williams. And Roy Williams. According to my notes, they played in exactly 1 game together as Dallas Cowboys team-mates. It was that amazingly forgettable day in St Louis when Roy Williams (OU) and Roy Williams (UT) joined forces for the Dallas Cowboys. One day is all.

And then Roy Williams (OU) broke his arm and was lost for the year and will now resume his career in Cincinnati. Best of luck to the Bengals. Before he left, we all had a chance to see on full display the level of maintainance that he required from time to time. He did not like people saying things about his performance. He did not like criticism. And it appeared to actually negatively effect his play over the course of time.

And now, we have a new Roy Williams (UT) who appears to have a certain maintainance level, too. Yesterday, was another day in this off-season where Roy demonstrated that he doesn't care for people questioning his quality :

"When I have guys, especially NFL greats and the greatest that played here in Dallas, saying that I can't get the job done and I'm not a No. 1, it makes me feel good," Williams said. "It makes me want to go out there and prove not only to them but everybody else across the world who listens to those guys, because obviously everybody thinks they know it all, that I can do my job."

Jones gave up four draft picks, including first- and third-rounders this year, to get Williams from the Detroit Lions midway through last season. Then Williams got a $45 million, five-year extension through the 2013 season before even catching his first pass from Tony Romo.

Aikman has said the deal could be "one of the biggest busts" ever in the NFL if Williams doesn't turn out to be a topflight receiver for the Cowboys.

With Terrell Owens cut by Dallas during the offseason and Williams getting more comfortable in his connection with Romo — such as one play in practice this week that Williams said "just clicked and looked real pretty on film" — now is the chance for the new No. 1 receiver to start providing an answer.

"But I'm just the same guy. I'm the same sorry wide receiver that Jerry traded for to get out of Detroit," Williams said with a smile and a sarcastic tone. "That's me."

Wow. Being the same guy as you were in Detroit? Um, Roy, that team went 21-48 while you were there. And you had 1 1,000 yard season in 4 tries. I am not sure I would get to cocky about your performance in Detroit. Of course, in Detroit when you stink, apathy is the fan's way of responding. In Dallas, anger is the method of reaction from the public when you under-deliver.

I wonder about a guy who is already feeling the heat given that he hasn't had to be the #1 guy here for 5 minutes...yet. Part of being the man in Dallas is understanding that while the field is the same length and width that it is in other cities in the NFL, the stage is certainly bigger and the spotlight is certainly hotter:
"This is another level here in Dallas than it was in Detroit," Williams said. "That's fine. I've been in the spotlight since I was little. I know how to handle it. I don't let them get to me. I don't have a big head."

I have written about the Roy trade plenty over the months, and I am still confident that he is capable of getting done what they need done. But, part of this equation is bigger than running routes and making catches. It is being able to handle it when you play poorly. People are going to question you. People are going to boo you. Are you going to freak out, As Vince Young did when he was introduced to adversity , or are you going to prove you want to defeat it?

Which brings us to another fun thread. The thread where you question why Vince Young and Roy Williams (and Cedric Benson and Ricky Williams) have such a hard time achieving that which they were thought able to achieve at the NFL level.

Those 4 names have 2 things in common: 1) All were taken in the top 10 of the NFL draft and paid handsomely before ever taking a snap, and 2) All were products of Mack Brown's Univeristy of Texas football program.

This is the portion of the blog entry where I suggest that maybe, just maybe, high-profile players from Texas are sheltered and coddled by Mack and assured that victory is your fault, but defeat never is. Not to suggest that Texas players cannot play at the next level (which many UT fans already confused) but RATHER, that players who are asked to stand in the spotlight at the NFL level from Mack Brown's program do not appear to like it when people are throwing insults rather than flowers at their feet.

If my email box is any indication, this will cause some Texas fans to change the argument. Here are some examples from the last 24 hours:

A couple of names not mentioned in the article of successful Horns in the NFL: Aaron Ross, Casey Hampton, Phil Dawson, Lyle Sendlein (starting rookie center for NFC champ Cardinals), along the following;

By the way the following Longhorns made the 2009 ProBowl:
Leonard Davis
Shawn Rogers

Now if you want to do honest journalism evaluate the other major college programs for comparison:
Oklahoma (outside of Adrian Peterson who else has been a hit, how is their Roy Williams doing these days)
USC (Mike Williams, Matt Lienart, Lendale White, how is that greatness doing these days)
Penn State (it's well documented their running back struggles in the NFL)
Florida (seeing a successful NFL quarterback from there lately, how is that working out)

Before you bag on Texas, please do just a tadbit more research.


Matt in Frisco

Using Phil Dawson to deflect heat from Vince Young? Priceless. Or, this one:
Hey Sturm VY was 30 -2 at Texas what did you want Mack to say to him. Please lose more so we can yell at you. Hey Ricky please don't win the Hieseman so we can yell at you more. Shawn Rogers please don't anchor the best defensive line in football so we can yell at you more. Please stick to throwing your panties at U2 and Brett Farve. Maybe next segment you tell the listeners about all of the Sooners who are tearing it up in the NFL because I can only think of one "AP". Thank you P1 Clay in Shady Shores.

U2 and Brett Favre? That is staying on topic.

While I do appreciate those guys listening/reading my material, I wish they would listen closer. The discussion is not about ALL Texas players having something in common. As you point out, there are many Texas players who are having fine NFL careers. That is not the argument.

The question is also NOT: What about other schools having busts? While this is also true, It would seem that Texas has as many Top 10 picks who continuously underachieve as anyone in the country (Mike Williams, anyone?) over the last decade.

Also, this is not a question of whether Oklahoma has a list of NFL players that compare to Texas. As someone who pulls for the Wisconsin Badgers, I don't have a dog in this fight. But, I would suggest that Adrian Peterson and Tommie Harris alone provide two players who were taken very high in the draft and not only achieved, but perhaps over-achieved from their spot in the draft. In fact, Tommie was chosen 7 picks behind Roy Williams in the 2004 draft. Think the Lions want a do-over?

We can change the topic if we want to protect our favorite school, or we can look for answers. As UT fan Brandon points out:
Bob -

Listening to BaD radio about Roy Williams and the comments on the Texas country club. As a UT grad, I am not going to deny that. The year of Shawn Rogers, Vince, Ricky, Roy....yes. Mack had a bubble around the team. But that I believe has changed. Look at some of the kids coming out of Texas these past two years. Orakpo, Griffin, Tony Hills (not too bad), Cosby (trying to make a team) to name a few. The team now always has their job on the line from what I have read. If you do not produce, move over, we are going to put someone else there to prove it.

BTW...see highlights of Orakpo from the Redskins / Steelers game. Poor Tony Hills getting blown up

Link of Play

And yes, I am tired of Roy talking.


I think he is right. I think Mack Brown realizes (although good luck getting him to admit it) that he was too soft on his high-profile guys, and perhaps is asking more of Colt McCoy than he did of Chris Simms in the critique department. Time will tell.

Look, I know that nobody likes to hear critical things about a team or school they love. But, I am not sure it makes a ton of sense to deny the trend.

We all want the same thing here. Let's hope Roy can handle the heat in 2009.

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