Maybe it’s Roy Williams’ fault for having a typical receiver’s personality, which is to say brash and confident, full of swagger. Or, maybe Mike Martz is to blame for saying he could envision Williams having 70-80 receptions this season. It could be the media’s fault for overanalyzing everything like they typically do, or we can blame the fans for having unrealistic expectations for a guy who has topped 60 receptions just twice in his career.
No matter who deserves the lion’s share of the blame, the recent hysteria regarding Williams’ struggles through the preseason has been blown way out of proportion and is borderline silly.
People seem to dislike Williams because he’s got a touch of arrogance, refusing to admit he had a drop against the Giants when many have credited him with two. Others blame him for his on-field behavior, such as laughing off dropped passes and wildly gesticulating the first down signal when he hauls in a first down reception.
What I actually think bothers the majority of Bears fans, though, has less to do with Williams as much as it does Jerry Angelo and the front office. While I don’t share their opinion, most of the Bears fans who have a problem with Williams’ slow preseason start are more upset that Angelo has waited this long to sign a supposed No. 1 receiver, and that he may have brought in the wrong one.
I base this theory on conversations I’ve had with other Bears fans, from the countless phone calls to sports talk shows I’ve heard, and from the outpouring of poignant online comments and tweets from angry fans who wonder why the Bears don’t have a “No. 1 receiver.”
While I can certainly point out many questionable decisions Angelo has made over the past decade, bringing in Williams on a one-year contract would rank somewhere on the bottom of that list.
The Bears took a chance on a player who has experience in Martz’s offense and is looking to resurrect his career. That’s all you could have asked for from Angelo. Anything that Williams does from here on out will be a direct reflection of his desire to remain in the league.
How anybody can view the signing as a disaster is baffling. Williams was signed to a one-year deal for a small chunk of money and if he does not pan out, the Bears can sever ties with him and be none the poorer.
If you’re one of those aforementioned fans who will complain that the Bears still haven’t found a “No. 1 receiver” if Williams fails, just stop. Because what exactly is a No. 1 receiver? It’s a player who leads his team in receptions and is the preferred target of the quarterback. In Martz’s offense, there is no such thing.
Maybe what you should be clamoring for more than a No. 1 receiver is a new offensive coordinator.
If what you’re asking for is a receiver with a combination of size, speed and good hands … get in line. The reality is that only a handful of those players exist in the league, which explains why they’re coveted by general managers throughout the league and why they’re hard to acquire.
The Bears have a plan in place and it doesn’t involve overpaying for a receiver. They have great depth and possess players who fit the Martz offense. Williams is simply another guy who knows the system. He’s not a savior, nor was he brought in to be one. And while his loud personality reflects that of Muhsin Muhammad and — even further back — David Terrell, Williams is not like either player in the sense that the Bears don’t have as big an investment in Williams as they did in those two. Muhammad was a highly-paid free agent acquisition while Terrell was a high draft pick.
Williams is just a guy. And a veteran at that. Let’s wait until the games actually matter to see how he performs, and if he fails, it doesn’t change a thing.