Bear Report has been very critical of wide receiver Roy Williams since he was signed this offseason. He began dropping passes the first day of practice and hasn't stopped since. At times, he's shown very little effort and has flat out quit on a number of plays. Through the first six weeks, he has been more of a liability than an asset.
Yet Sunday, Williams put together his best game of the year, helping Chicago's offense in a number of different ways. Let's go to the tape to find out why he was so successful and whether or not we can expect similar production going forward.
-1st and 10. The Bears line up in a power-I set. QB Jay Cutler is under center and Williams is wide left. The Buccaneers blitz but Cutler has time to drop five steps and step into his throw. Williams is being covered man-to-man by CB Ronde Barber. He runs 12 yards downfield and then breaks to the sideline. Cutler puts up a high pass that only Williams can grab. He goes up to make the catch but Barber grabs him from behind and pulls him away from the ball. Barber is penalized for pass interference, giving Chicago a first down.
WR Roy Williams
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Williams is at his best on deep outs and ins. For a big player, he gets in and out of his breaks well, which can often mitigate his lack of speed. On this play, he runs a crisp route and Cutler makes a nice high throw, which elicits the pass interference call.
-2nd and 1. RB Matt Forte runs a stretch play to the right. Williams is lined up wide right and races out to meet CB Aqib Talib. The blocking up front is perfect and Forte is able to turn up field. Williams never lets Talib go and angles the defender toward the sideline. Forte cuts behind Williams' block and races 39 yards for a touchdown.
Williams is one of the better blocking receivers in the game, which in a lot of ways is all about effort and desire. He locks up Talib on this play and seals the defender to the outside, which allows Forte the room he needs for the TD run.
-2nd and 4. Williams lines up a few yards outside of TE Kellen Davis on the left side. Cutler pitches to Forte on a sweep left. Williams crashes down and seals Ronde Barber inside. The rest of the line does their job and Forte is able to turn the corner and pick up 14 yards.
Here's another example of Williams using his ability as a blocker to open up room in the run game. If nothing else, his downfield blocking is very valuable to the run game.
-1st and 10. Williams motions from the left side all the way wide right. Cutler fakes a handoff to RB Marion Barber and drops back to pass. The Bucs use zone coverage. Williams races 15 yards down field then cuts inside, just in front of the safeties. Cutler hits him in stride. The ball hits Williams' hand and he drops the pass.
Williams did a great job finding the soft spot in the zone on this play yet looked away just as the ball reached him. Drops are something he specializes in. This is his downside, something that could truly hurt the offense at a critical time down the road.
-3rd and 7. The Bears line up in a five-receiver set with Cutler under center. Williams is in the left slot, with CB E.J. Biggers in his face. The backfield is empty. The Bucs have five down linemen and are showing blitz off the right edge with S Corey Lynch. At the snap, all five defensive linemen rush and are picked up well. Williams uses a quick side step at the line, forcing Bigggers to completely whiff on his jam attempt. Williams releases past him and is wide open. Cutler hits him at the 10-yard line and the receiver takes it in for a touchdown.
This was a great job by Williams of beating the jam. Biggers attempts to chuck him but Williams uses a stutter step and leaves the cornerback with nothing but a handful of air. Within two seconds of the play's start, he was wide open in the secondary.
WR Roy Williams
-3rd and 11. Cutler is in shotgun with Williams in the left slot. At the snap, Cutler drops back to pass and is given plenty of time to throw. Williams runs 11 yards down field then stops right at the first down line, just in front of the second wave of coverage. Cutler throws a rope to his receiver. Williams make the catch then extends the ball forward for the first down.
Williams did a nice job of finding the soft spot in the zone and sitting in it. He gave Cutler a good target, then hauled the pass in and had the presence of mind to extend for the first. It was an all-around good play for the wideout.
-Final drive of the game, the Bears line up for a 3rd and goal from the Tampa Bay 4-yard line. Cutler is sacked, yet CB Aqib Talib, who was seen jawing with Williams the previous play, is penalized 15 yards for grabbing Williams' facemask. This gives the Bears a new set of downs.
Even when Williams wasn't doing something as a receiver or blocker, he was able to help the team. He annoys Talib to the point where the defender makes a boneheaded play and picks up a personal foul.
Roy's production as a pass catcher this game (4 rec., 59 yards, 1 TD) is probably as good as it gets for him. He did a great job beating the jam on his touchdown grab and finding opens spots in Tampa Bay's zone coverage for most of the day. Yet he did drop a pass that would have gone for a first down, something he's been doing for years now.
Yet what Williams also brings is his ability to execute blocks against opposing safeties and cornerbacks. He's an asset in the run game. And in this game, he facilitates a crucial personal foul call on Talib, plus gets a pass interference call on Barber. I'm no Williams backer by any means, and I've been critical of him since the offseason, yet Sunday's game shows that, while he may not be the No. 1 receiver he was touted to be, he certainly has value to this club.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.