The Big Mac Blog

Terrance Williams is playing like Alvin Harper

This TD catch by Terrance Williams (83) in Philly in Week 2 has been the lone highlight in his season so far.
This TD catch by Terrance Williams (83) in Philly in Week 2 has been the lone highlight in his season so far. Star-Telegram

Once a year, whether it actually happens or not, I admit when I’m wrong in order to hit my quota.

I was just so wrong about Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams. I thought he was ready to break out in 2015, but instead the loss of Dez Bryant has exposed T-Will to a level I did not expect. He is Alvin Harper 2.0.

Williams has been in the NFL long enough to prove he is better than this. He has one year remaining on his contract, and whether he knows it or not he is playing his way out of an extension. The T-Will we are watching is expendable.

T-Will is good, and he will be in the NFL for a while, but he needs a security blanket, or a top tier NFL passer throwing him the football. Right now he has neither, and it’s showing.

In the Cowboys’ 39-28 loss against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, T-Will was awful. Brandon Weeden threw at Williams twice, neither of which were caught. One was dropped.

After the loss, T-Will popped on Twitter with this winner: “Talk (blank) all you want about me all y’all want I’LL REMEMBER IT”.

That’s productive. The Tweet has since been removed. Tweeting angry is never a good idea. Actually, just Tweeting seems to be a bad idea, too … but that’s a different rant.

Everything changed for Williams since Dez Bryant suffered the broken bone in his foot:

Week 1 (w/Dez) v NYG 8 targets, 5 catches, 60 yards

Week 2 (w/out Dez) at Phi 7 targets, 4 catches, 84 yards, 1

Week 3 (w/out Dez) v Atl 2 targets, 0 catches.

T-Will is having a hard time winning one-on-one matchups and getting open. The passes that he caught in Philadelphia were both perfectly thrown balls; the 42-yard touchdown pass he caught from Weeden was a perfectly executed slant route.

Williams has to be able to create space, and make the hard catches to prove that he is more than just a product of playing opposite of Dez, and having a top passer feeding him free donuts. So far he has done neither. How much of his previous success now is wide open for debate – he’s playing like a modern day era Alvin Harper.

Harper was the vertical receiver to Michael Irvin in the dynasty era of the ‘90s Cowboys. He provided lots of big plays on the sideline opposite Irvin. Once Harper left as a free agent to Tampa Bay, he was exposed as a guy that was fast but could not get open.

T-Will has to be able to run routes and prove he can separate from defensive backs or this stretch will define him as a player. At some point, if the Cowboys are going to be able to win a couple of games without Tony Romo, Brandon Weeden will have to be able to go deep to T-Will.

I thought Terrance Williams was better than this. I was wrong.

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