Is Rookie WR Terrance Williams Helping or Hurting the Dallas Cowboys?


Is Rookie WR Terrance Williams Helping or Hurting the Dallas Cowboys? It’s certainly a question worth pondering, isn’t it? Learning WR in the NFL is one of the most difficult transitions for a college-to-pro player to make. In college most WRs have set routes before the ball is snapped. WRs are usually covered my very inferior players at CB thus making crisp routes relatively unimportant. Coverages are comparatively “vanilla” and are rarely disguised. All of this changes when a WR goes to the NFL…

Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara (20) reacts after being hit by free safety Ryan Mundy (21) after tackling Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams (83) during the second quarter at AT

In the NFL the QB and WR need to read the defense and identify the coverage before the ball is snapped. Defenses go out of their way to disguise coverages so many times the coverage is not apparent until the ball is snapped and the receiver begins his route. Routes are no longer set in stone like they were in college.

Now there is a route tree offering multiple route possibilities based on the coverage (CB and Safety) the defense is playing. If a safety drifts inside then the route tree may require the WR to break up and out. Conversely if the safety is absent and the CB plays deep coverage then a short route like an out, in, slant, hook (etc…) is the appropriate route to run.

Both Receiver and Quarterback must be on the same page. Passes are delivered BEFORE the receiver breaks on his route. If the receiver fails to run the correct route, the QB will deliver a pass to where the Receiver was supposed to be rather than where he really is. This often times will result in an interception.

Much like the interception on Sunday night.

On Sunday night it appeared Terrance Williams ran the wrong route. Romo was expecting Williams to cut inside on a slant while Williams double-moved and broke deep on the outside. The play resulted in an interception and returned all the way to the Dallas 1 yard line. Since the Cowboys were in scoring position themselves this could have easily been a 14 point shift (Dallas could have scored 7 but instead allowed the Giants to potentially score 7 allowing a 14 point shift). Thankfully the Giants were held to only 3 points – but that’s not really the point. In most cases they would have scored a TD. And in most cases a 14 point shift in the score would spell disaster for Dallas.

Aug 24, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams (83) on the field before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at AT

Terrance Williams’ play could have been disastrous for the Cowboys.

Thankfully the Giants played especially poor most of the night, allowing the Cowboys to squeak out a game they completely dominated.

I’m not even picking on Terrance Williams either. Miscues like this are very common with rookie WRs. Reading a defense and learning a QBs tendencies take time to develop. Williams may have great potential and may even be Miles Austin’s replacement next season, but is on-the-job training worth it? Dwyane Harris has been through these growing pains. He now has a certain level of chemistry and trust with Tony Romo. He may not have the immense potential that Williams has but he’s a much safer option.

I’m the biggest supporter of grooming young talent. I will always side with developing youth … except maybe this case.

Is Terrance Williams helping or hurting the Dallas Cowboys?

It’s a tough question to ask but at this point I think he’s clearly hurting the team. With a viable option behind him in Dwyane Harris maybe Williams should spend more time learning and less time “contributing”. This whole argument may be moot if Dez Bryant misses any time from injury but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discussed.

Terrance Williams has a great future in this team. The time just isn’t now.

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