Cowboys or not, Ryan Williams feels he’s earned NFL job

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Cuts are on the horizon and the Dallas Cowboys have several decisions to make. One of the more difficult decisions is surely going to be what to do with running backs Ryan Williams and Joseph Randle.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said he wouldn’t rule out the team carrying four running backs, but the possibility remains that either Williams or Randle could be searching for another job when 53-man rosters are set Saturday.

But Williams is confident he’s had a good enough preseason to show he deserves a spot on an NFL roster, whether it’s the Cowboys or not.

“Without a doubt,” said Williams, who is fully healthy for the first time since his college days at Virginia Tech.

“The biggest question with my whole deal was -- Is he healthy? Is Ryan Williams really back? … I’m very satisfied with what I’ve done running back-wise. I’m happy. I feel I’ve put some great film out there, but I’m not really worried about putting film out there for other teams. Right now, I’m a Cowboy.

“The one thing I do know is it’s a numbers game and it’s a business. At the end of the day, you can be as good as you want to be but they might not need you at the end of the day. So you go out there and play as hard as you can and you don’t worry about the rest.”

Williams has run well so far in the preseason, gaining a team-high 112 rushing yards on 25 carries with one touchdown. He’s also caught nine passes for 66 yards.

Williams, the Cardinals’ second-round pick in 2011, believes he’s put any doubt about his health to rest. Injuries cut short his rookie season in the second preseason game when he suffered a torn patella tendon in his knee. He was sidelined in 2012 because of a shoulder injury and he didn’t get any snaps in 2013.

“We liked him coming out of school,” coach Jason Garrett said. “For whatever reason, whatever happened in Arizona happened. We tried to clean the whiteboard, show him a clean slate and evaluate what we see. …. We’ve seen his running ability the last couple of weeks. He does a really good job getting out in space, being physical at the end of runs, making guys miss. It’s a real credit to him how hard he’s worked to show he belongs as a member of this football team.”

Outside of his running ability, the Cowboys must feel confident in Williams as a blocker and a special teams player too. Those are two areas Williams has focused on improving, particularly special teams.

It’s an unfamiliar role for him. He has long been viewed as a traditional workhorse back, joking that he hadn’t been in some of the special teams’ roles since he was 10.

But he understands the importance of them for him now.

“Man, I have to show that I can be an impact guy on special teams,” Williams said. “[The coaches] need to say, ‘34 knows exactly what he’s doing. We can have 34 because he can go out there and do something on special teams.’”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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