2013 saw Dallas Cowboys head of personnel Will McClay wave his scouting magic wand and land the unknown defensive end George Selvie. Selvie was initially recruited as an extra body for camp when injuries swept through the team. Yet Selvie turned out to be a key component on the Cowboys defense, going from camp fodder to starter in the space of pre-season. An indication perhaps to just how key these pre-season games can be to the no name players. With injuries once again plaguing the team, could the Cowboys have discovered the next Selvie in Zach Minter?
Defensive tackle Minter was signed by the team on the fourteenth of August and competed in his first game against the Baltimore Ravens just two days later. Despite just a single team practice Minter was the stand out player of the game. Featuring largely in the second half of the game with the third string defence, Minter racked up four tackles and two sacks. His performance was lighting up social media with fans wondering just who this guy was and where did he come from. Minter’s performance didn’t pass by the players who were impressed according to head coach Jason Garrett:
“Players were coming up to me and literally hit me! Don’t take 79 out!”
Since his big moment, Minter has taken reps with the first team. The expectation is to see him perform against the Miami Dolphins in the next pre-season game. Obviously we shouldn’t expect to see the same incredible stats when facing the Dolphins first team. But it’ll be interesting to see if he can maintain momentum or at the very least prove the Ravens game wasn’t a total flash in the pan.
Pre-draft the players that excited me were defensive tackle Aaron Donald and linebacker Anthony Barr. Both players were explosive in games. Donald and Barr both rocketed up the board eventually, and although I am generally pleased with our draft we do still lack a spark on defense. It’s unfortunate to lose DeMarcus Lawrence early on. And despite his original claims of aiming for ten sacks this season, that wasn’t a target I was buying into. This side is distinctly lacking in playmakers. Fans appreciate effort, more so when your side is losing. Minter is by no means refined and lacks technique but he makes up for that in sheer determination.
It’s worth noting that Selvie had much more experience in the league at the time he joined the Cowboys than Minter does right now. Selvie had racked up 47 appearances between his time at St Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers. Minter on the other hand had two games for Chicago Bears in 2013 before ending up at Cincinnati Bengals where injury ended any potential game time.
We’re a way off from concluding that Minter is indeed Selvie mark two. But even if Minter fails to become a stalwart, he could provide some much needed depth. Post draft I was really happy with how the roster stood depth wise. But these two games so far have revealed that the Cowboys have the numbers but lack ability. The thought of losing tackle Tyron Smith and replacing him with Jermey Parnell fill me with dread.
This defense is average; and to some folks that’s putting it politely. Defensive co-ordinator Rod Marinelli is expected to operate a rotational system. We haven’t got a star on the team such as DeMarcus Ware to look to perform on every down. Instead each and every man must take up their position ready to perform and ready to make a play. Bryan Broaddus wrote on DallasCowboys.com that Minter:
With Minter offering physicality that other players don’t maybe he could be the right fit and tick some boxes for this defense. After the game against the Ravens, Minter was quoted as saying:
“I’ve worked pretty hard to get to this point, so I’m just trying to stick around.”
Hard work and determination got Selvie his roster spot. Let’s see if it’ll work for Minter too.