IRVING, Texas -- Roy Williams dropped another one Wednesday. This time, the Dallas Cowboys' clumsy wide receiver let go of some of the bravado that he has clutched all season.
Williams has been confident and upbeat in interviews every week, no matter how much he has struggled on the field -- and he has struggled plenty, catching just 38 passes for 596 yards this season when he was supposed to be Tony Romo's No. 1 target.
The last two games, Williams has dropped key passes that hit him in the hands. The latest one came shortly before halftime, with no defender anywhere near him, and he didn't have another ball come his way the rest of the game.
"That's telling me my quarterback lost that confidence in me and so did the coordinator calling the play for me," Williams said. "I don't blame them. I blame myself. So I have to get my (act) together and try to right this thing and help this team win some games in the playoffs."
Williams added that his confidence is still high, and he believes he has "the best hands in the league, top three at least," yet he still planned on putting in extra work after practice.
"Today I am going to get back ... to fundamentals, catch 100 balls after practice and see if it pays off come Sunday," he said.
The Cowboys gave up four draft picks, including first- and third-rounders this year, to acquire Williams from the Detroit Lions midway through last season and immediately gave him a $45 million, five-year contract extension.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones envisioned Williams and Terrell Owens giving defenses fits. It didn't happen, as Williams caught just 19 passes in 10 games last season. Then Jones released Owens and insisted part of the reason was for Williams to blossom.
Jones said Wednesday that he still believes his big investment in Williams will pay off.
"I know how bad he wants it, and I know how hard he works," Jones said. "I know what his talent level is, and I think it'll pay off for us."
Williams lost his status as the team's top receiver a few weeks into the season, when he missed a game because of a rib injury and Miles Austin set a team record with 250 receiving yards. Austin leads Dallas with an NFC-best 1,230 yards on 74 catches, with 11 touchdowns, and on Tuesday was voted into the Pro Bowl.
Williams has seven touchdowns, including one this past Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Yet he offset that with the wide-open drop and, before that, deflecting a pass for an interception, ending Romo's career-best streak of 167 passes without one.
"If I continue to do the things I've been doing, then I am going to mess around and be on the sideline playing special teams," Williams said.
Williams has been critical of himself before but always with a sarcastic tone. Last week, he practically laughed as he apologized for dropping a third-down pass that could have helped seal an upset of against the New Orleans Saints; Dallas won anyway. This time, his tone was serious.
"My mom told me that they said on TV that I lead the league in drops," Williams said. "I would bet a whole game check, my whole signing bonus, that my name would never be in that sentence ever, and it is this year. I can't take anything for granted, I can't take my hands for granted. I have to look the ball in and do the things I am supposed to do and that I know how to do, and once that starts going, then it will just be a snowball effect and Roy Williams will be back. ...
"The only way I can shut everybody up is to play my game," he said. "And one of these days it has to happen. Like I said, I'm going back to catching the ball after practice, make sure these hands get right, cut my fingernails. I've got to do something to get this back on track, do something."