In the 14-13 loss to the Titans Saturday night, it took just a couple minutes for wide receiver Roy Williams to make an impact both ways, good and bad.
A lightning rod for debate in his short time with the team, Williams caught a 17-yard pass from Jay Cutler off a play-action fake on the first play from scrimmage, his first of the preseason.
But on the second play, Williams let an extremely catchable pass over the middle that he appeared to short-arm, glance off his fingertips into the grasp of safety Michael Griffin, who returned the interception 17 yards to the Bears' 37-yard line.
"(Jay) was just putting the ball where it needed to be," Williams said. "Right out of the gate, the first play of the game, he was on the money. The second one, that's my fault, I have to catch that one. I felt like it should have been a flag somewhere, but it's the NFL, so you have to get past that one and go the next play. I'm a guy of my word, of my performance, so I have to catch that ball across the middle."
WR Roy Williams
It was interesting to hear Williams take the blame, considering five days earlier he refused to take the heat after dropping two passes, one of which was blatant.
"The drops?" Williams said when asked about it. "Who had a drop? I had a drop? I didn't have a drop. 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 Lions (146 catches for 2,128 yards in 2006-07) under Mike Martz, who is now the Bears' offensive coordinator.
On the next series against the Titans, Johnny Knox, who Williams has replaced in the starting lineup, was in as the starter with Earl Bennett, although Williams took the majority of the first-team snaps with Knox getting occasional work with the first team.
Later in the second quarter, Williams picked up 16 yards on a crossing route, and Knox had a 21-yard reception, leaving that race still too close to call, since Williams still doesn't appear to be in sync with quarterback Jay Cutler.
Knox, who led the Bears in receiving last season, has gotten most of his preseason snaps with the second team since losing his starting job to Williams. But Knox managed to produce three catches for 32 yards in the first two games, while returning four kickoffs for 157 yards and four punts for 31 yards and handled the demotion well after some initial disappointment.
"I expect him to handle it that way," coach Lovie Smith said. "It's pretty simple. We have a starting rotation. If you're not getting the job done and you're on top, the next guy is going to get an opportunity. Our players realize that. We let everyone know that. In time, they tell us who should start and who should play and all of that. As a football player, you have to be ready and just know, 'I'm going to get my opportunity. I need to show everyone that I belong.'"
Knox had one catch for 21 yards Saturday night.
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