IRVING, Texas -- Tony Romo's first two passes of the season went to Roy Williams, a strong, symbolic start to their relationship as quarterback and top receiver.
That's all it was, though -- a start.
Romo and Williams have hooked up just nine times since the first drive of the Dallas Cowboys' first game. That's a total of 11 catches through four games, hardly what owner Jerry Jones is paying either of them to produce.
It's also not what Williams was expecting after he and Romo spent about four weeks throwing together before the start of offseason workouts.
"No, this is not what I envisioned by no means," Williams said Wednesday. "It's still early. It's like the stock (market). It's a bad first quarter. Maybe the second quarter will be good."
Their lack of rhythm was especially evident on a fourth-quarter drive during last Sunday's loss at Denver.
On the first play, Williams was wide open going across the field on a short route. Romo threw the ball Williams' way, but it was low and behind him. On a third down, Romo overthrew Williams on a deep ball. Williams leaped to catch it and was drilled in the ribs.
Although he returned to catch a pass, Williams then went to the sideline for good. Between the pain and the altitude, he wasn't breathing well enough to play the final series, when Romo threw two incompletions to Sam Hurd in the end zone. Hurd ran the play that Williams had worked on all week in practice.
Williams has cartilage damage around three ribs. It still hurts for him to get in and out of bed and his car, so he missed practice Wednesday. Williams' status for Sunday's game at Kansas City is uncertain.
So is the status of the Romo-Williams relationship, which raises all sorts of other questions, like whether the Cowboys should have trusted Williams to replace Terrell Owens as the team's No. 1 receiver and even whether they should have gotten rid of T.O. Or perhaps the issues start with Romo and his decision-making, or maybe with the plays being called by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
Something obviously isn't working, considering Williams has seen just 25 passes come his way. That ties him for 44th in the NFL, which is low considering Romo has thrown the 10th-most passes in the league.
"I think the chemistry is there," Williams said. "It's just ... it's just ... the chemistry is there."
It wasn't there last season, when Williams arrived in a midseason trade from the Detroit Lions. Romo was out with an injury, then he and Williams never got their timing down. Williams caught 16 passes in seven games with Romo.
The lack of action last season was somewhat understandable. Not so much this time around.
"I promise you it's OK," Williams said. "I'm not, `Aaarrrrrgggghhh, give me the ball.' It's going to come."
Williams is watching his words because he saw what happened when Owens talked his way out of town last season. Williams also made it clear that anything he has to say about his role won't be said through the media.
However, he did drop some hints.
"You can go by the stats all you want to. Just come watch us live and in person and see how you feel," he said. "There are always plays you wish you had back. But for the most part, I feel I'm playing pretty good."
It's worth noting that Romo isn't in synch with any of his receivers.
The Cowboys are the only team without a receiver among their top two pass-catchers. Tight end Jason Witten leads the team with 23 catches, and running back Tashard Choice is second with 12. Choice also is third on the depth chart behind Marion Barber and Felix Jones but has received extra playing time because of injuries.
Williams and Patrick Crayton both have 11 receptions. Williams' 214 yards are tops on the team, and his one touchdown is tied for the club lead.
Simple math shows that Williams is on pace for 44 catches, a woeful figure for a No. 1 guy. Even for a No. 2 guy.
"Or No. 3," Williams said.
Williams insists he's just being patient, something he was forced to learn during his years with the Lions.
"Holler at me in four more games," he said. "It's tough for me, but I'm going with the punches."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press