IRVING—With his training camp concussion now squarely in his rearview mirror, Terrance Williams heads into his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys focused on two important things–doing all he can to help his team win games and improve each and every day.
Sure, these two priorities might sound cliché, but the 2013 third-round pick out of Baylor knows that being an NFL rookie can be a tough transition and also realizes that the way many veterans came through their rookie campaigns better players was by merely keeping it simple.
“[My goal is] just to continue studying my playbook so I can go out there and know what I’m doing with 100 percent confidence and just play my style of football and play the style of football that the coaches brought me here to do,” Williams said after practice on Thursday.
A concussion during training camp in Oxnard, California last month forced him to miss a pair of preseason games. However, this Dallas native is now over that and has squarely shifted his focus to something else that has become a big deal for him-attention to detail.
Specifically, he wants to get all of Tony Romo’s hand signals down at the line so when the Dallas signal caller steps to the line and flashes some signals that he immediately knows what he and his fellow receivers are supposed to do.
“I want to continue getting his hand signals down so when he points something out, I just know it without thinking about it. I’m just doing more of just paying attention to the small details,” Williams said.
Getting acclimated to the adjustments Romo makes when he gets to the line and doesn’t like what he sees from the defense and then changes the play has been his biggest adjustment thus far, but this ex-Bear knows that the quickest way to become more comfortable in those situations is by asking and fielding a lot of questions in the film room as well as viewing game film with an incredible attention to detail.
But he is still a rookie and even though he is being counted on to deliver catches as the Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, he hasn’t escaped the rites of passage associated with being an NFL rookie.
“I carried helmets back in training camp and then I had to sing. I sung Al Green. That’s what they made me sing,” Williams said.
And of course, once the Cowboys hit the road for the first time next weekend to face Kansas City that means getting food for his fellow receivers to eat on the flight. But again, that’s a rookie responsibility he’s not all that concerned about.
“Yeah, my group is not that bad. My group is pretty much chill, but the rest of these people I really don’t even know what they’ll make me do but I’m pretty comfortable with the group that I have,” he said.
Williams admits that making the jump from the Big 12 to the NFL is a big transition, but one thing that has helped ease his transition has been having other receivers like Austin, Bryant and Dallas’ star tight end Jason Witten and a veteran QB like Romo to bounce things off of and to offer him bits of sage advice whenever necessary.
“Dez and Miles, I’m so comfortable with them. The times I was hurt, I would come talk to them and tell them what I see. They would see different stuff when they watched me. They would tell me stuff during practice and tell me some stuff that they do to get open, their different techniques,” he said.
“Jason [Witten], he’s one of the coolest people here just from his work ethic and he teaches you how to work at a high pace because it makes the game a whole lot easier,” Williams said. “He just gives me small details that I can get better on and Tony [Romo], he just helps me out with everything from where I line up, the type of my routes and how to do it and the pace it needs to be done. I’m surrounded by a good group of guys.”
Williams takes immense pride in coming from Baylor and even though he’s the lone Bear currently on the Cowboy roster, he knows that when BU takes the field against the schools of some of his current teammates like Dan Bailey and Bryant (Oklahoma State) or DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), there will definitely be some jawing going on in the room.
He even took his support of the Bears one step further, having his car painted in the Baylor colors. How’s that for commitment?
And while it remains to be seen just what sort of role Terrance Williams will play as the No. 3 receiver for the Dallas Cowboys in 2013, the fact he has had some great teachers to learn from in Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Tony Romo and Jason Witten along with the fact that he seems to be a very focused and squared away individual can only help him as he makes arguably the toughest transition in all of sports, from a star in college football to an NFL rookie.