Roy Williams, Bears sure things will work out
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Bears coach Lovie Smith, right, says he isn't concerned with wide receiver Roy Williams' lack of production through the first two preseason games.
The condition of Roy Williams' conditioning has been blown out of proportion — at least according to Williams.
The wide receiver happened to mention last week that being in football shape was different from just being in shape.
"I'm fine, man. I'm fine," Williams insisted Wednesday. "I played last week, played a half. I'm good to go. I don't understand what's going on, but it's all good."
Williams has yet to catch a pass in the preseason for the Bears, leading some to question his effort.
It appears doubtful that the former Pro Bowl wide receiver will contribute as much as optimists expected when he was signed July 29. Then, early in training camp, Williams was moved to the first team, ahead of last year's leading receiver Johnny Knox.
Expectations soared again — maybe too high, considering Williams is playing for a new team that he couldn't practice with until Aug. 4.
But the former seventh overall draft pick said he's OK with that.
"I love it," he said. "I've been in that situation all my life. Here I actually have a chance to put my name on something. It's in my hands."
Williams had a couple of passes in his hands in Monday's 41-13 loss to the New York Giants, but he failed to catch either one, although he claims neither was a drop.
"The drops?" Williams said when asked about it Wednesday. "Who had a drop? I had a drop? I didn't have a drop. But if you want to count it, you can.
"I think the DB made a great play to knock it out as soon as it got into my hands. I didn't drop the ball. But if you want to call it a drop, go ahead. You said I had another one, too?"
The second one would have been a tough catch, given that Williams had to dive just to get his outstretched hands on the ball.
But that's the kind of catch fans expect when they recall Williams' two years with the Detroit Lions (146 catches for 2,128 yards in 2006-07) under Mike Martz, who is now the Bears' offensive coordinator.
"It went through my hands?" said an incredulous Williams, who then turned sarcastic. "The slant? Yeah, I've got to catch that ball, man. I'll catch it next time, coach."
Later, during the part of practice open to the media, Williams was unable to corral an overthrown pass, and he looked toward his earlier interrogator and asked: "Was that a drop, too?"
Quarterback Jay Cutler says Williams just needs a little more time to assimilate a new system, but he has mentioned conditioning a couple of times in the past when discussing Williams' progress in the offense.
Cutler sees Saturday's third preseason game as an opportunity for Williams to make progress.
"He's figuring stuff out," Cutler said. "We do things a little bit different from Detroit and Dallas. Once he gets everything hammered home, I think this week is going to be a good steppingstone for him with us really going through a game week."
Coach Lovie Smith said he isn't concerned with Williams' lack of production.
"As far as his effort in the preseason, it's been good," Smith said. "We haven't gotten a lot of production, but we're making progress.
"There were a couple passes that he had a chance to get (against the Giants). But hopefully we'll see a little bit more this week."
Expecting Williams to be the same player he was during his Pro Bowl season of 2006 (82 catches, 1,310 yards, 7 touchdowns) is probably a fantasy. Cutler says the team's expectations for Williams are more realistic.
"I don't think we expect Roy to be the greatest receiver ever," Cutler said. "He's going to fill a role, he's going to catch balls, and Roy has just got to understand that he can't do too much.
"In this offense, you don't really know where the ball is going to go from week to week. He might have 10 catches one week, he might have 2 or none the next week. Roy has been in the league long enough to understand that."
Williams believes he's close to being a key cog in the Bears' offense, but he doesn't want or need to be the focal point.
"I haven't even caught a ball yet, but it's coming," the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder said. "Once it happens, the fireworks will go off, and this offense will be off and running, whether I'm catching the ball or not.
"We can run the football, we're a great screen team, and we're a great passing team. So I don't want the focus to be on me. I want it to be on everybody because this is a team sport, obviously."
•Follow Bob's Bears reports via Twitter @BobLeGere and check out our Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com.
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