Apparently, it doesn't take Terrell Owens(notes) to cause a receiver controversy in Dallas -- all you need is a trade in which Jerry Jones got fleeced by the Detroit Lions, one maddeningly underachieving diva, and an undrafted free agent that came out of nowhere to put up two of the finest performances at his position in recent memory.
The diva in question is Roy Williams, the ex-Lions receiver who hasn't come close to fulfilling the price Dallas paid for him -- first-, third-, and sixth-round picks in 2009, plus a seventh back in 2010. Through Week 8 of the 2009 season, Williams has 14 catches for 249 yards and two touchdowns. He's fourth in receiver productivity on the team, behind Jason Witten(notes), Patrick Crayton(notes), and some guy by the name of Miles Austin(notes), who has put up individual-game performances of 250 and 171 receiving yards in the last month. Austin is getting his first starts this season, and he's making the most of it. The same cannot be said of Williams, whose resemblance to Owens is only in sheer disgruntlement.
"I'm the No. 1 receiver," Williams recently told the Dallas media. "But things are just going No. 2's way." No. 2 is obviously Austin, and Williams wasn't done shifting blame away from himself.
"(Austin) gets the ball thrown correctly his way. I'm stretching and falling and doing everything. Everybody who's been here's balls are there. Our footballs are everywhere right now."
What Williams is trying to say, in a convoluted fashion, is that Tony Romo(notes) is throwing footballs with extreme efficiency to everyone else on the team, and hurling Ryan Leaf goatballs to him. That, and not Williams' sloppy routes and alligator arms, is the reason Dallas' "star receiver" has caught 14 of the 37 balls thrown his way, for a pathetic catch rate of 38 percent (as opposed to Crayton's 51 percent and Austin's 62 percent).
Now, it's come out that Michael Irvin offered tips to Williams and Austin during the Cowboys' training camp about anticipating the snap count and using correct catch technique. Irvin recently said that while Austin was a willing and grateful pupil, Williams wasn't interested. Say what you will about Irvin, but there haven't been many receivers in NFL history with his absolutely demonic competitive spirit once he got on the field. Austin understands that every little bit helps. Williams clearly doesn't.
The Cowboys have a major problem on their hands with Williams. His high price forces the team to put him in a lead role he hasn't earned and doesn't deserve, and it may take more bad plays and blamescaping before this sad experiment comes to an end.