COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Mike Williams has been mainly used as the Los Angeles Chargers' deep threat the past two seasons, but after last week's opener, the fifth-year wide receiver might be used on a variety of routes, along with seeing the ball more often.
Williams comes into the showdown Sunday with Dallas after grabbing a career-high nine receptions last week in a 20-16 victory over Washington.
“I was really comfortable. Me and (offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi) talked after the game, he was like, ‘In this offense, the ball is going to find the X (receiver).’ I was like, ‘I appreciate you. It can’t happen at a better time.’ I’m excited about it and I’m looking forward to every opportunity. I’m ready for it," said Williams, who finished with 82 receiving yards and a touchdown.
The expanded role also couldn't come at a better time due to Williams, who is in the final year of his contract after being drafted seventh overall in 2017.
Williams was targeted 12 times, marking only the fourth time in his career he has had 10 or more in a game. Six of his eight receptions were on short routes (balls thrown within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage), which is also a new career high. One of those receptions was a 3-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter that proved to be the go-ahead score.
Over the past two seasons Williams has led the NFL in yards per reception (18.1) and air yards per target (16.2).
Williams likes the new system put in by Lombardi, because it bears some similarities to when he played at Clemson.
“It's all about getting the ball in our hands and making plays. You know, catch a 5-yard route and turn it into 15 or 20 yards,” he said. “I can catch short and intermediate stuff and make plays off that which we are trying to do right now.”
Williams and the Chargers could be primed for more success against a Dallas defense that allowed 379 passing yards and six completions of at least 20 yards in last week's 31-29 loss to Tampa Bay.
“Tampa Bay's receivers looked like they were having fun out there,” Williams said. “We have to continue to keep it rolling. We’re 1-0, but we have to continue to do it throughout the season. Just make every opportunity, or every play, that comes our way, so we’re looking forward to doing that the rest of the season.”
Notes: Safety Derwin James (toe) was among five starters who didn't practice on Wednesday. The others were right tackle Bryan Bulaga (back/groin), safety Nasir Adderley (groin), outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell (knee), cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (shoulder) and defensive end Justin Jones (calf). ... Coach Brandon Staley said Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott still has his full attention despite being held to 33 yards last week. “He’s a physical guy. I have full respect for him and what he’s accomplished in this league. I still think he’s a premium back.”
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