ARLINGTON, Texas – If there was an on-field silver lining to Dez Bryant missing voluntary workouts over his then-unresolved contract, it was Terrance Williams and other Cowboys receivers getting additional reps.
Williams was the lead receiver throughout the spring workouts until Bryant rejoined the team at training camp with a new five-year, $70 million deal. Then last Saturday, when Bryant (hamstring) was held out of Saturday's dress rehearsal preseason game against the Vikings, Williams stepped up again.
The Cowboys' offense sputtered early with only one first down on its first two drives. Then Romo found Williams on a crossing route and the third-year wideout outran the Minnesota defense 60 yards for a touchdown and an early 7-3 lead.
"He's had a great offseason," Romo said. "He had a great camp, and he is getting better and better. He is probably one of the best run after the catch guys I have ever seen. Whenever he gets the ball in his hands, he has a chance to score."
Last season Williams tied Cole Beasley for fourth on the team in catches (37), but he trailed only Bryant in touchdowns with a career-high eight. He added three more scores in two playoff games. But he's talked about becoming even more Romo-friendly in his third year.
The Cowboys see it.
"Terrance is one of those guys that he gets better every day," head coach Jason Garrett said.
So much of that has to do with his approach. He is a serious-minded guy who has ability. He listens to coaching and he just wants to get better. He is one of those guys that when you correct him in the meeting or share something on the practice field, he really listens and tries to integrate it immediately.
"He's like a sponge. I think that is why you've seen him grow so much."
Bryant is back at practice and should be ready for the Cowboys' Sept. 13 season opener against the Giants. Williams is ready to capitalize on the opportunities he gets opposite the All-Pro receiver.
"I'm just ready to do my part," he said. "I'm not trying to do stuff that's not me. I'm just ready to do my part to help this team in the best way that I can."