Ryan Williams had chances to leave last season and join another team’s 53-player roster. Instead, he chose to stay on the Cowboys’ practice squad, with hopes of getting a shot to run behind the league’s best offensive line.
Williams will compete with three other veteran running backs for roster spots, playing time and carries.
“I think everybody will have a great chance to show what they can do, and it’ll go from there,” Williams said. “Really, that’s it. I never had a chance to run behind that O-Line last year, so hopefully I get an opportunity this year. I think that’ll help my chance of showing everybody what I’m really capable of doing.”
Williams has only 58 carries for 164 yards and no touchdowns, playing only five career games since the Cardinals made him a second-round pick in 2011. His career numbers are the fewest among the veteran running backs on the roster, with Darren McFadden (1038-4247-25), Joseph Randle (105-507-5) and Lance Dunbar (80-324-0) having more experience, more carries and more yards.
Williams’ career so far has ranked as a disappointment because of numerous injuries, including knee and shoulder ailments.
“I’ve been good for three years now,” Williams said. “I’ve had some major injuries, for sure, and statistically having those injuries is kind of like ‘X this guy out.’ But I’ve always been one to never put myself in that box of those statistics. I always thought of myself that I can overcome anything I’ve ever wanted to overcome. That patellar tendon was that thing for me. It changed my life. But I’m still here, and I honestly feel like I’m better than I was before. I believe in my product, and we’ll see what happens with that.”
Williams gained a team-high 112 rushing yards and scored a touchdown on 25 carries during the 2014 preseason. It earned him a spot on the practice squad last season.
Williams doesn’t play special teams, which hurts his chances of sticking on the Cowboys’ 53-player roster. But with Murray’s departure, the Cowboys likely will have a running back by committee.
The Cowboys kept four running backs on their roster in 2013.
“It is pretty open,” Williams said. “Our bellcow ringer left. He cashed out in Philly – really cashed out in Philly. So we’ll see how it plays out. We have a very talented backfield – a very, very talented backfield. I don’t know if it’ll be like the best man wins; I don’t know if it’ll be like everybody is sharing. I don’t know how the situation will go. I’m not really worried about it. The only thing I’m worried about is going out there and showing these coaches and everybody what I’m capable of doing and showing them what they brought me to do.”