Hiding Roy will be difficult this season

Posted on Sat, Apr. 19, 2008

Special to the Star-Telegram

This is a make-or-break season for Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams.

He might be the only man who has started in the Pro Bowl who has so many questions about his role in his organization. Some people at Valley Ranch don’t trust him on the field anymore.

Don’t be surprised if Williams is benched on third downs this fall. Teams love throwing to the tight end on third down to keep the chains moving.

Did you see the Cowboys’ schedule? It is loaded with some tough tight ends. Williams has struggled in pass coverage the past two seasons. Badly.

The Cowboys open in Cleveland. That means Williams will have to cover Pro Bowler Kellen Winslow. The Browns would be foolish not to try to isolate Winslow on him.

Some of the best tight ends in the game are on the schedule this year: Chris Cooley (Redskins), Jeremy Shockey (Giants), Todd Heap (Ravens).

Randy McMichael of the Rams has been a Pro Bowl alternate.

Vernon Davis was the 49ers’ second-leading receiver.

The Buccaneers’ tight end duo of Alex Smith and Jerramy Stevens combined for seven touchdown receptions.

Heath Miller of the Steelers caught seven touchdown passes in ’07, and Donald Lee of the Packers snagged six.

Philly’s L.J. Smith will get two shots at the Cowboys’ strong safety. Ben Utecht of the Bengals is no slouch.

Seattle is the only team on the schedule that is weak at the tight end position.

Williams knows he’s not the same player he was a few years ago. His ears work. He knows the critics are out there.

He did himself no favors in the locker room last year by being suspended for a horse collar tackle on Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Wade Phillips also chose not to start him for two games. He didn’t register a single sack in 2007.

The fifth straight Pro Bowl trip to Hawaii came to him because he was the first alternate and was chosen to replace the late Sean Taylor on the NFC roster.

Dump that No. 31 jersey, because he’s going back to the No. 38 he donned at Oklahoma. The old No. 38 was a feared man who made plays and made hard hits.

When Cowboys training camp opens in Oxnard, Calif., lots of eyes will be on Williams to see if he can return to his once dominating form. His career as a Cowboy depends on it.

Newy Scruggs is the sports director at NBC 5.

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