Roy Williams can't win these days. Of course, he seemingly can't catch either. But that's for later.
Not only does Williams have to hear criticism in Dallas about his disappointing play but he is now getting criticized by opposing players on losing teams. Now that's just going too far.
Redskins safety LaRon Landry generated headlines on Monday with post game comments about Williams being "scared" to go over the middle. At least that was his explanaion for Williams coming up with zero catches in the Cowboys 7-6 victory.
"Scared," Landry said to Redskins.com. "Yeah. I know he was. Y'all can quote it, too. Y'all can tell him right now, tell him I'm sayin' it. I can say it right now: yeah, he was scared, I think I told him he was scared."
Landry said Williams had no response to his "scared" taunts during the game. He also said he wasn't worried about any retaliation or payback from Williams when the Cowboys play the Redskins again in a few weeks.
"I don't care," he said. "What's that gonna do?"
This story is getting a lot of play in Dallas because Williams is the object of everybody's discontent right now. But shouldn't the reporter at Redskins.com have been asking Landry about where he was on the final Cowboys drive when quarterback Tony Romo completed seven of eight passes, including the 10-yard game winner to Patrick Crayton.
Talking trash about Williams being scared rings a little hollow when you had chances to make plays to help your team win the game and didn't. Was the goal to scare Williams or beat the Cowboys?
The Redskins are 3-7 while Williams and the Cowboys are 7-3. It would seem that Landry would have enough on his plate to say grace over rather than trying to belittle Williams.
But as they say, it is what it is.
I considered calling Williams at home for a comment about this but decided against it. He will get a chance to answer questions on Tuesday in the lockerroom. But really what can he say?
At this point there is nothing he can say to win over public sentiment. A paltry 24 catches for 429 yards and three touchdowns says it all.
Scared or not, the bottom line is Williams' production has been a huge disappointment. Sunday was the third time in his career Williams has been shut out, including twice since coming Dallas in a bye week trade with Detroit last season.
Even the most ardent Williams critics didn't expect this. It's one thing to say he's not a No. 1 receiver in the mold of a Larry Fitzgerald or Terrell Owens, it's another to be the fourth leading receiver on the team and one the quarterback has no confidence in when it matters most.
On the final drive against the Redskins, Romo did not look once in Williams direction. An incomplete pass to Crayton started the drive. Then Romo went to Felix Jones, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Witten, then Austin twice before finding Crayton for the game winner.
The frustrating thing for the Cowboys is that they knew he wasn't the type of game-breaking receiver who took short passes to house or simply ran by defenders. But they expected a big sure handed receiver who made tough catches in traffic. Think Keyshawn Johnson with better speed.
That's why they felt justified in trading three draft picks to Detroit to get him last season and why they had no problem giving him a $45 million contract extension.
Williams, however, has not been close to the player the Cowboys expected. He is not making the tough catches and he's having trouble with the easy ones.
The drop against the Packers that he blamed on the glare on his shield was inexcusable.
It's makes you wonder if Williams has lost confidence or if he's succumbing to the enormous expectations placed on him after coming to the high profile Cowboys following five years in Detroit.
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said he didn't think Williams was pressing. He bristled when asked if there was a chance the Cowboys would consider benching the expensive Williams in favor of Crayton.
Phillips said he remains confident in Williams because of what he sees every day practice where the former Longhorn routinely makes tough catches. But Phillips doesn't deny that Williams has become an enigma.
"Jerry's paying him," said Phillips in reference to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones when asked if Williams was giving the team a return on its investment. "We saw some good things [against Green Bay, when he had five catches for 105 yards, a touchdown, a fumble and dropped pass in a loss]. This game [against the Redskins], we didn't get the ball to him, and whether he had opportunities or didn't have opportunities, we just didn't get the ball to him. We still think Roy's a good receiver, and Tony [Romo] is a good quarterback, so I think they'll work things out."
Time will tell.
Clarence E. Hill Jr.