"You look at how he came early and stayed late, tried to improve, looked for ways to maximize his value," Jones said. "All of those things are a major consideration. His contract is a major consideration. You look at that. Do you compromise your football team? No. No...We've got a player that has the will and has the ability."

But what if Williams just—gulp—isn't that good?

I'm not sure he's going to drastically improve in 2010. For the most part he was healthy this season. He went through a full training camp last summer and has now been a Cowboy for a year and a half. The timing should be there. Along with the comfort level. And the production.

Cowboys receiver Roy Williams:
Is he a keeper?
Cowboys receiver Roy Williams: Is he a keeper?

The Cowboys had the NFL's second-ranked offense in yardage but were only 14th in points. For the scoring to increase, Williams—with his big body and soft hands—needs to finally emerge as a consistent red-zone target. It's amazing what Dallas accomplished offensively considering the regression of Williams (as well as running back Marion Barber and tight end Martellus Bennett), but it would be unrealistic to think it could continue.

"I've got to find a way to make him better in the whole scheme," Phillips said of Williams. "We still had a prolific offense. It wasn't like it killed us not to have that production, but I think we can have more with him."

You know it's bad when the best thing your coach can say about your sucky season is that it didn't kill your team.

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