IRVING, Texas – It's obvious from talking to him that Terrance Williams heard the criticisms about consistency.
It's undeniable Williams did some heroic things in his second season in Dallas, whether you want to pull up the tape of his five touchdowns in the first five weeks of 2014, or his game-saving catch in Seattle – and that's not to mention his explosion in the playoffs, where he scored three times in two games.
It's also easy to understand why Williams sounded upset with himself Wednesday, as he recalled the downturn of his season. In a six week stretch from Nov. 2 until Dec. 14, he logged a paltry seven catches for 94 yards – an average of about 16 per game.
"In certain games you don't get passes, and it kind of makes me look bad to where I'm not doing my job," he said. "That's what most people see, because my production went from high, and then it stopped, and then it went back up. It's kind of hard whenever you're going through a full game and you know you can help more than what you're doing."
Williams had become almost an afterthought by the tail end of last season, and while his fantastic playoff production helped offset that, he said it wasn't enough. That's bound to lead to questions about consistency, and Williams was brutally honest about himself when asked how he could improve.
"There were some times that I went 90 instead of 100. It beat me in the butt sometimes, sometimes it didn't. But it's kind of hard whenever you're going out there some games and you don't get a pass," he said. "It's just a constant battle of me talking to myself, and I got tired of watching myself on tape from last year. It's just one of those things where I know for a fact I'm not going to do that anymore."
This offseason has provided Williams with quite an opportunity to prove that point. As he continues to negotiate for a long-term contract, Dez Bryant has yet to participate fully in any team practices, leaving just Williams and Cole Beasley as the top returning wide outs on the roster.
The early returns are positive from the guy who matters the most – Tony Romo.
"Terrance has had one of the best offseasons I've seen in a while," Romo said Wednesday. "I'm very excited about his approach, the way he's played up to this point in the offseason."
That includes his typical workload at the X-receiver spot, but the Cowboys have also been moving him into the Z-receiver role – a place typically reserved for Bryant.
"I think the coaching staff and Tony do a great job of sliding us around to where defenses have to really play their full coverage," Williams said. "So now I think that, the more work I'm getting in Dez's spot, it's going to help in the longer run."
Added Romo: "His route running has really gotten defined. He's always had the ability to be explosive run after catch, and I think you're seeing him now get his route running to another level. That's exciting to see."
That kind of encouragement should be nice to hear, considering Romo ultimately decides where the ball goes. In an offense that features an All-Pro in Bryant and a future Hall of Famer in Jason Witten, Williams said he wants to make sure he has the quarterback's trust.[embeddedad0]
"I think for the most part it's just trying to take the load off Dez and Witten most of the time," he said. "I think now that, the more confidence I've got with Tony, where he knows if he sees press and double-teams on Dez and Witt, he knows he's got somebody that's not going to take off a play."
To hear it from him, that might have been a concern last year – especially in stretches that saw him get targeted as few as one or two times per game, if he was even targeted at all. This time around, the concern is gone.
"I got tired of just looking at myself sometimes, taking off plays," he said. "It's one of those things where I really just blocked it out. If he throws me the ball, he throws me the ball – if not, I'm just going to continue to do my job each and every day."