Dallas Cowboys’ Role Players Need to Step Up


Oct 12, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams (83) makes a reception against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter of a 26-20 Dallas victory at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

After the Dallas Cowboys’ loss last week versus the Arizona Cardinals a friend texted me, “Here starts the Dallas implosion.”* It reminded me of the oft-repeated refrain from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith that the Cowboys are “an accident waiting to happen.”

Then, never one to mince words about the Cowboys, Jerry Rice remarked** to SI.com’s Pro Football Now (h/t SportsDayDFW):

"“I feel like the Cowboys are fake pretenders.” Rice said. “They show a potential at times, but then they show that, hey, look, you know, we’re not really that team.”"

Being pragmatic, I couldn’t help wonder if they are right. Just a few weeks ago the team was sitting at 6-1 and analysts everywhere were admitting – seemingly much to their chagrin as there is nothing worse than being an analyst that gets it wrong – that they’d underestimated the team this year and they could be one that goes the distance this season.

My head was spinning. Who was right? Text messages and email chains with my brother and fellow Cowboys-fans friends weren’t helpful. So I did the only thing I could do: I stopped paying attention for a couple of days.

Now, with some distance from last week and having spent less time listening, reading and watching commentary, I’m more convinced than ever that this team will bounce back and the back half of the season is where the role players will make the difference.

This isn’t to say that running back DeMarco Murray, wide receiver Dez Bryant or tight end Jason Witten should see less action. On the contrary, these guys make the players around them better – they are the core of this offense and they will need continue their level of play if the team is going to head into December in the hunt.

However, some of the best games this season have been when more people get involved, not less. We need to see more action for and consistent play from players like wide receivers Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley and tight end Gavin Escobar.

Take the win against the New Orleans Saints in Week 4. The team had a total of 255 receiving yards. How’d it break down? Bryant – 44; Witten – 61; Williams – 77; Beasley – 14; Escobar – 6.

Multiple targets for Romo, lots of people getting involved, the opposing defense kept on their toes = a big win secured. Same kind of game plan went for Week 7 against the New York Giants: 267 receiving yards – Bryant – 151; Witten – 27; Williams – 18; Escobar – 65.

Passing Game Coordinator Scott Linehan – who has been taking some heat for the performances the past couple of weeks – noted earlier in the season that the depth of the offense is key to getting wins. Getting to the number needed to take the NFC East is not going to be easy with matchups the team has after facing the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and their bye during Week 11.

A total team effort will be needed and this is when the role players can really shine. Let’s keep our fingers crossed the coaching staff keeps utilizing them and that they step up like we know they can.

*Note to self: Please reconsider whether you actually want to be friends with said person. Poor sportsmanship at his age is unbecoming.

**Jerry Rice clearly has some unresolved issues when it comes to the Cowboys – perhaps ones he should get a therapist. Just a thought.