Watching shaky i-phone video clips of training camp and hearing various media outlets sing the praises of the young Dallas Cowboys wide receiver core may cause you to believe Owner Jerry Jones, the front office, and the coaching staff are all satisfied with staying “in-house” when it comes to finding that coveted third wideout. I believe nothing could be further from the truth.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the real mental test for that theory. Say starting receiver Dez Bryant is suspended for his alleged domestic violence incident. (which could still happen) And let’s just say the other starting receiver, Miles Austin, tweaks a hamstring (which has already happened). And now you have to fill two vacancies, not for the third wideout slot, but for both starters.
As a Cowboy fan, do you feel comfortable with Kevin Ogletree and Andre Holmes facing the New York Giants Superbowl winning defense for a playoff bid? How about Dwayne Harris and Raymond Radway staring down that Philadelphia Eagles star-studded defensive backfield? You should be squirming in your seat (like I am) at the very thought of it.
No fans, all this b.s. about “we’re happy with what we have out here” or “we like our young talent” will mean absolutely bupkis when a starter goes down. And for those of you who hate the thought of Terrell Owens returning might have a change of heart when you see rookies Danny Coale, Cole Beasley or Tim Benford proverbially wetting their spandex pants in their first real-life professional game. Do you really want the fate of a game, within this schedule, in their inexperienced, shaky hands? Really?
I’m not saying these guys are bums. They have all shown great potential early on. Even Ogletree is said to be a “new man” this off-season. I’m just pointing out how vulnerable the Cowboy’s receiver core, and ultimately, the entire team really is. One or two key losses and you’ll have untried, untested rookies or unreliable veterans starting games. Again, starting games!
Let’s say Bryant or Austin has to sit out a game, which is probable at this point. (It happened six times with Austin last year) That means one of our starters is getting double teamed that night. Leaving one of our young wideouts in single coverage and forcing Romo into trusting an unproven or unreliable option. I bet tight end Jason Witten earns his multi-million dollar paycheck that night! It could all go so wrong, so fast.
The big “D’ in Dallas should not stand for defense. It should stand for depth. Depth allows teams to keep going when players, who play an ultra-violent sport, inevitably get injured. It means having a player to rely on when things go terribly wrong and not missing a beat. It gives young stars a chance to shine or wily old vets a chance to prove they still got it. But it also reveals what you don’t have. And Dallas does not have any experience in that group.
Then you ask, “How will they ever get experience, if you don’t get them out there?” Obviously, you watch them. You grow them. You give them opportunities in OTA’s, training camp and in pre-season games. And when you think you can trust them, you give them a shot. Do you think the Cowboys actually trust any of these wideouts? Their actions say “no”.
This is the same team that put in a bid for Baylor wideout Josh Gordon in last month’s NFL Supplemental Draft. They also attempted to claim second year receiver Dez Briscoe after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released him just two weeks ago. And this is the very same team that brought in Laurent Robinson last year after the season had started because they didn’t believe they had a proper third wideout then. (And most of the wideouts on that roster are still in this current contending group!) The Cowboys actions are screaming: “We need help!”
If Dallas is anything, they are a team of habit. Expect them to wait until training camp is over and try to find another waiver wire “gem” like Robinson. And the Cowboys are just arrogant enough to believe they will. Funny how you can be so arrogant and have just one playoff win in 16 years under your belt.
Then again, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. But can Dallas find two “nuts” in a row? (Insert joke here) We’ll find out. Until then, don’t be surprised to find the Cowboy’s training staff at the local convenience store shopping for adult diapers later this season. I might need a pair or two myself.