Don and Meredith are longtime friends and lifelong Dallas Cowboys fans with a bond solidified when swapping stories about growing up in hostile Cowboys territory in New Jersey and facing the same while living in New York City the past ten years. More than anything, they love debating everything Dallas Cowboys with each other. Their posts here at the Landry Hat are a running conversation between them about America’s Team.
Don: Will you cry if undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver L’Damian Washington doesn’t make the team? His recent shoulder injury that knocked him out until training camp isn’t going to help his cause.
Meredith: Depends. First, what’s your definition of ‘cry’ exactly?Are we talking a lower lip trembling, slow teardrop roll down the cheek or full-blown, raccoon eyes accompanied by not being able to breathe? Let’s not forget, I cried – to varying degrees – when Leon Lett slipped on the ice in 1993; when Matt Saracen was laying in the bathtub, drunk as a skunk and said to Coach Taylor, “Everybody leaves me. What’s wrong with me?”; when Tiger Woods admitted he cheated on Elin; AND when my neighborhood bar ran out of gravy on Sunday night so I didn’t get to have disco fries during the World Cup. If I were in Vegas, I would put money on me tearing up at the very least. Even odds on anything more.
You know I love a good backstory. And I really like L’Damian’s. He is someone I want to root for. I think we need more of that right now — it feels like we have been this team that you don’t really have a reason to emotionally get behind. Beyond just coveting a notch in the W column, why should I be invested in their success? It’s sort of how I feel about the San Antonio Spurs. You know they have a lot of talent and Greg Popovich is masterful, but……… oh, sorry – just put myself to sleep there – because I don’t feel like I have a reason to care aside from the fact that they play amazing team ball. I know I need more than that and I feel like most fans do too.
So back to L’Damian. Knowing what’s driving him makes me all the more excited to see him reach his potential. Now, two things: 1) His shoulder injury could be a blessing in disguise. He has been trying to muscle through the after-effects of that nagging toe injury from last November and maybe this is the chance for his toe to fully heal and then he’ll come back to training camp at 100%. 2) He seems to fit with new
offensive coordinator passing game coordinator Scott Linehan’s history — tall pass catchers who can stretch the field and pull in long balls. My fingers are crossed.
Don: You’re saying maybe 50-50 you will cry? It’s FAR more likely than that. So I’m pulling for Washington. Mostly because I don’t want to hear you whine about it.
But, really, if you watch any of his tape, you see something important: he can excel on special teams as a gunner on punts. For him to make the 53 man roster, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett will have to keep six wide receivers. he has no shot with less than six wide receiver, barring an injury. If he can play special teams, it gives him a real shot to make it and the team gets to avoid him becoming the next Andre Holmes, or, heaven forbid, the next Jimmy Smith.
Meredith: Either way, I would think he at least makes the practice squad and we get the opportunity to develop him. His size/speed combo is rare and worth nurturing.
Don: Yup. And he fits Garrett’s RKOG (Right Kind of Guy) mold.
Meredith: On the subject of wide receivers and stories I love, let’s discuss Dez Bryant. There’s been so much chatter about his contract, how much he is worth, how much he should or shouldn’t say, blah, blah, blah. What’s being overlooked is that he was practicing in the slot throughout OTAs. I like this. A lot. Constantly playing Dez as the X receiver is simply not creative enough and does not make the best use of his talent – defenses have been able to swarm him and take him out as an option way too easily.
Don: It’s paramount they commit to this. If you look at how Linehan used Calvin Johnson, playing inside was often how he got Johnson open, despite double, triple coverage efforts.
Meredith: I just had a flashback of Megatron galloping free in the middle of the field and abusing poor lil’ Jeff Heath last year. Serious PTSD.
Don: I just threw up a little. Regardless, this isn’t a new concept in Dallas – when Terrell Owens was at his peak, he was absolutely devastating when playing in the slot for then offensive coordinator Garrett. It’s far more difficult for the defense to high/low cover a receiver in the slot and we simply cannot have replays of the Detroit, Chicago, or New Orleans games last year where Dez is getting only a handful of looks. It’s why the development of rookie wide receiver Devin Street is so important. If he can play outside with Terrance Williams when they play the 11 personnel package, they can move Dez inside where teams can’t roll the whole secondary at him and he can chew up third corners and safeties.
Meredith: Our friends are saying they are using Cole Beasley on the outside, towards that end.
Don: I LOVE the experimentation and innovation, but I don’t believe that can work much more than a few plays a game as a novelty. He is just too little, despite his sick hops.
Meredith: Are those regulation height? That’s…wow.
Meredith: Yes. Definitely. I like him, too. Ok, gotta run or I’m going to be late for my date. He’s an Eagles fan though so I don’t really care given that the odds on this working out are far less likely than me crying in August if L’Damian isn’t wearing a helmet with a star.
Don: Yeah. Good luck with that. Talk later.