Saturday, November 15, 2008
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Cowboys ready for Romo-to-Roy connection

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[November 15, 2008]  IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Roy Williams stood at his locker wearing a hooded Texas Tech sweat shirt, the humbling payback of a lost bet for the newest Dallas Cowboys receiver and Texas alum.

While Williams is already part of the good-natured ribbing that goes on between teammates in the locker room, the receiver hasn't yet made an impact on the field for the Cowboys. But he really hasn't had that opportunity since being traded from the winless Detroit Lions.

"I felt like it was time when I first stepped foot in here," Williams said. "I think they are still trying to figure me out, trying to figure out what I can and can't do."

The Cowboys acquired him to line up opposite Terrell Owens. They have already given Williams a $45 million, five-year contract extension with the expectation that he will eventually succeed T.O. as the No. 1 receiver and top target for Tony Romo.

But a month after arriving, Williams has three catches for 38 yards and a touchdown in three games. And he hasn't caught a pass yet from Romo, who missed all of those games with a broken pinkie.

There have been only seven passes thrown his way, and Williams has been on the field only for passing downs and inside the 20. That has frustrated Williams, who believes he could know his assignment on virtually any play after time to learn the Cowboys' offensive schemes.


"Is Texas Tech undefeated?," Williams quipped, referring to Texas' last-second loss two weeks ago that led to the sweat shirt from former Tech linebacker Zach Thomas. "I can do whatever they tell me to do. I am just waiting on my turn."

His wait will apparently end Sunday night, when the Cowboys (5-4) play a vitally important game at NFC East rival Washington. Romo returns to the lineup and Williams has been elevated to starter opposite T.O., making Patrick Crayton the No. 3 receiver.

The Cowboys completed the trade for Williams only minutes before the NFL trading deadline, getting Detroit's 2004 first-round pick in exchange for three draft picks, including first- and third-rounders next April.

"My expectations were that he would have an immediate impact and we would get this season out of him," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said this week.

"I thought it would come quicker just because of his presence out there on the other side of Terrell could really alter how these teams are going to play us," Jones said. "That was compromised without having Romo out there. But it will be interesting to see how Washington plays us with the way we are using Williams and Terrell out there."

Owens hasn't had a 100-yard receiving game this season and has been held to three catches or less in four games already. He looks forward to having Romo back and Williams on the field with him more.

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"It's going to give us some opportunities. Obviously Roy is a playmaker," Owens said. "He's going to give us another added threat. ... I think we'll be ready to roll."

Romo will be the fifth quarterback already that Williams has played with this season. There were Jon Kitna and Don Orlovsky in Detroit before backups Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger in Dallas.

Because Romo is still recovering from his broken pinkie, there hasn't been any extra work on the side with Williams - "I don't want him to throw no balls that he doesn't have to," the receiver said. But they did have a few extra days during last week's open date.

"The bye week was big for him, just to get on the same page with Tony," said tight end Jason Witten, the Cowboys' top receiver. "We know what we're getting with him. I'd say he's going to be more involved in the offense, absolutely."

Williams' best season was 2006, when he went to the Pro Bowl after catching 82 passes for 1,310 yards and seven touchdowns. He had 262 catches for 3,884 yards and 29 TDs in 60 games for the Lions.

Williams keeps telling Romo to just get the ball close to him, that throws don't have to be perfect.

"He has a good sense of where people are around him and when to get in and out of his breaks. We'll see how it goes, but I'm excited," Romo said. "I think we will be OK."

Williams, whose 27th birthday next month is two weeks after Owens turns 35, hopes the game against the Redskins is only the beginning of a long-term relationship with Romo, who doesn't turn 27 until next year and whose contract is through 2013, the same as Williams.


"It could. That is what it looks like," Williams said. "You have to start somewhere. That's all you have is a start, and just escalate from there."

[Associated Press; By STEPHEN HAWKINS]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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