While skeptics focused on the offense -- errant throws, ineffective
running, dropped passes, offensive line penalties, etc. -- after
Sunday's 26-3 loss at Cincinnati, Dallas safety Roy Williams said the
offense should not endure all of the blame. The defense, which
statistically was the best in the NFL last season, deserves to have
fingers pointed in its direction, too, according to the Cowboys'
Williams said that the defense has not lots its physical ability. On
the contrary, he said many of the defense's problems can be traced to
the fact that several players are trying to do more than their roles
within the defense require.
"At times, guys try to do more than what they're supposed to do,"
Williams said. "That's a natural thing when things are not going right."
His explanation, even if accurate, doesn't make losses any easier for
Williams to accept.
"I'm a sore loser," he said. "It doesn't sit well with me."
Williams admitted that this year's inconsistent defense reminds him a
little of the defense he played on in 2002, his rookie season in Big D.
"Yeah, at times," he said when asked about possible similarities
between the two defensive units. "At times, in spurts, the defense
looks good. Then, in the last quarter, we start making mistakes, and we
end up throwing up white flags."
Williams is quick to defend head coach Bill Parcells, whose
motivational techniques have run the gamut from encouragement to
"He rips us pretty tough," Williams said. "I don't know if we respond
enough. He's tough already. How much tougher can he be? What's most
disappointing is when he harps on turnovers and penalties, and then
that's what we did."
Williams said that a change in the defense's chemistry seems to have
had an effect on the group's performance.
"I don't know what it is," he said. "It's like we're not having fun
like last year. The heart is there, but after a big play, the
excitement isn't there. This year, it's like we make a big play, we get
excited and then we go back into work mode."
Williams said that the absence of fellow safety Darren Woodson, who's
been sidelined by injury this year, can not be blamed for the team's
defensive shortcomings this season.
"He's on the sideline, cheering us on," Williams said of Woodson,
adding that the senior member of the Dallas secondary also has acted as
an extra coach to the young defensive backs. "But I played without him
in my rookie year, too. So we can't use that as an excuse."
Parcells drew national headlines after Sunday's loss when he called his
team "stupid." While QB Vinny Testaverde declined to comment Monday on
his coach's comments, Williams said that as long as the Cowboys
continue to make mistakes, his coach's assessment is accurate.
"We are a stupid team," he said, "with the false starts, not protecting
the ball, turnovers. Until we stop making mistakes, he's right."