This Dallas Cowboys back up is pushing for playing time


When wide receiver Dez Bryant threatened to hold out of the Dallas Cowboys first game, fans were forced to imagine life without the team’s most dynamic play maker. However, the simple fact that Bryant is now signed to a long-term deal does not mean that the Dallas is as deep and secure at the wide receiver position as many fans feel.

Thus the training camp emergence of backup wide receiver Devin Street is an encouraging sign. Conventional wisdom holds that a player improves more between his rookie season and his second season and so far Street is proving that theory correct.

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The 2014 fifth round pick out of Pittsburgh was a non-factor last season grabbing only two passes for 18 yards. However, the second-year wide out may be playing his way into a larger role in the Cowboys’ offense.

In the team’s first preseason game, Street started the game due to an injury to Bryant and he made an impression. The 6’3” 200 lb. receiver caught three passes on four targets gaining 45 yards.

The second team role player showed an ability to create separation from defenders and make plays with the ball in his hands. Street also showed strong route running ability catching at least two passes on square-in routes that called for him to go over the middle.

What Street can add is a large target in the red zone and a reliable fifth receiver should Cowboys’ offensive coordinator Scott Linehan decide to empty the backfield and go with a five wide set. But more importantly is the fact that Street may be proving that he can step in on the outside if either Bryant or the Cowboys’ other starting wide out Terrance Williams should go down.

Consider the options on the Dallas roster if Bryant or Williams were to miss significant time. Not many of these wide receivers give you confidence that they can contribute in a starting role: Reggie Dunn, Antwan Goodley (rookie), Deontay Greenberry (rookie), Nick Harwell (rookie), A.J. Jenkins, David Porter or Lucky Whitehead.

Street has put on more weight over the off season and has been working with starting quarterback Tony Romo in an attempt to build a connection with the Pro-Bowl signal caller.

"“Trust is everything and that’s biggest thing I am trying to establish.” street said in the Dallas Morning News."

In the video below from the nightly practice recap show, “Inside Cowboys Training Camp”, reporter Lindsay Cash profiles Street and details the progress he has made.

In his four-year collegiate career with the Pitt Panthers, Street caught 202 passes for 2,901 yards and 16 touchdowns. These numbers are all the more impressive considering that Pittsburgh employs a run first style of offense.

Street was named All Big East second team in 2012 and third team in 2013. His 202 receptions are the most in the history of Pittsburgh football ranking him ahead of Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Bryant, two Panthers that were much more heralded when entering the NFL.

With Bryant missing time due to a hamstring injury, Street is receiving more practice repetitions with the first team. Furthermore, it is distinctly possible that Bryant will sit out the team’s next preseason game Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers meaning Street will likely see first team snaps with Romo under center.

The Cowboys need Street to have an impressive camp even more than Street needs to impress. Should one of the top wide receivers, Bryant or Williams, miss any time, Street will be the first and best option on the roster to step in and play meaning his improvement may prove to be critical to the Cowboy’s success in 2015.

Next: Dallas Cowboys brass being smart about injuries