8 Cowboys off to disappointing starts eight weeks into the 2023 season

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Sam Williams, DE

Year 2 was supposed to be breakout year for the second-round pass rusher out of Mississippi. Picked specifically by Quinn, Williams was a pet project of sorts, blessed with natural ability and placed in a prime situation opposite Micah Parsons.

With Parsons occupying most offensive attention, Dallas pass rushers faced an obscene number of one-on-one opportunities. And given the Cowboys depth across the line, no one needed to get overworked.

As a rookie, Williams looked like a rising star. With more opportunities and more development, he could be something special in a short amount of time. And as the youngest, cheapest, and most controllable DE on the roster(signed through 2025), he figured to get the highest percentage of prime opportunities rushing the passer in 2023.

Yet, it’s been a fairly even division of labor in Dallas. Dante Fowler, 132 snaps, Dorance Armstrong, 195 snaps, and Williams, 145 snaps, have all been getting equal opportunities within the rotation. Armstrong leads the bunch, but 45 of his snaps have come inside so it’s really pretty even on the EDGE.

With just two sacks this season, Williams has largely disappeared into the rotation. In a season that was supposed to be his breakout, he’s looking like everyone else. Granted, Dallas has a better rotation than arguably any team in the NFL, so “like everyone else” is actually a compliment. Yet still, more was expected this season.

Frankly, this is on the Cowboys coaching staff more than it is on Williams. They need to get their young EDGE more snaps.