Competition seems to be the chosen word at the Cowboys OTA’s this week. From the offensive line, to the defensive line, to safety and onto the wide receivers. It’s the wide receiver position that has me intrigued this off season. The receivers from 2009 are all back, at least for now. One is looking for a new contract, two want trades and another just wants to shut everyone up. Then add in a player that some people are saying could be the most explosive receiver to come out of college in years. This all adds up to competition which will be great for the team and will make the receiving unit better.
1. Miles Austin…Last season was his breakout year as he became a starter in the 5th week of the season against the Chiefs. He totaled 81 receptions for 1,320 yards and 11 TDs. I have no worries that Jerry Jones will sign Austin to a long term contact that he is looking for and deserves. The Cowboys know they have something special with Austin and will not mess it up.
2. Roy Williams…Not exactly a great year for Williams. It seemed as though as the year went on Romo stopped looking his way and he ended up with only 38 receptions for 596 yards. This off season Williams is once again saying the right things and saying how he and Romo are on the same page and how they are connecting more then last season during practice. But if I remember correctly Williams was saying how great he was connecting with Romo last off season. No one on the Cowboys is looking for Williams to fail, but I don’t see Williams on the team after the 2010 season.
“Last year around this time we were throwing and catching and it wasn’t very good. Just to be quite honest with you, we were missing balls, and bad throws and drops and all that in the offseason that carried over to the season,” Williams said.
“But this year, we’re connecting like Montana and Rice. It’s night and day from last year so I know we’re expecting big things for both of us.”
3. Patrick Crayton…Since the Cowboys drafted Dez Bryant in last months draft Crayton has asked for a trade. I don’t see a trade happening, but if it does I don’t see the Cowboys getting much for him. Crayton is a good 3rd option and Romo likes to go his way, but he will never be more then a #3. That’s my opinion of course. I think the smart thing for Crayton to do is start showing up at practice and stay with the team. Unless of course he truly believes that the organization wants to go in another direction as far as the younger receivers. Is it a coincidence that there is another receiver on the Cowboys roster with the #84?
4. Sam Hurd…Hurd is a good special teams player, but will hardly get on the field as a receiver. He has also asked for a trade, but I doubt anything will happen there. I do see Hurd being released before the season starts because of some of the receivers that are behind him that are catching the coaches eyes.
5. Kevin Ogletree…Those of you who have read my posts and heard me in the chat room on game day know how I feel about Ogletree. I think given the chance this guy can shine big for the Cowboys. Not sure what it is, but there is just something that stands out with him. I don’t see him going anywhere and will continue to get more chances to show his stuff.
6. Dez Bryant…He was considered one of the most talented players in the draft this year and team after team passed on him. Enter the Cowboys who waited patiently before making a trade to land the talented receiver. He’s young, wants to learn and also is a like a little kid when you hear him speak about being a Dallas Cowboy and being around the players. The excitement in his voice is great to hear. He will be brought along slowly, but I look for big things out of him in his rookie season.
“There was one time when he (Romo) was explaining a play to me, I really didn’t care about the play. I was excited because he was talking to me.”
“It is a dream come true. I always wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy. … I’m trying to get past the excitement and just get ready and focus on football.”
Others on the roster
Rashaun Greer, Jesse Holley, Terrell Hudgins, Manuel Johnson, Titus Ryan, Verran Tucker…These receivers I will admit I know very little about except for Holley who is back a year after winning Michael Irvin’s 4th and Long show. Holley has speed and size. If he works out on special teams he might just replace Sam Hurd on the team. For those who remember Holley’s exciting punt return last preseason against the Vikings, knows that he has that spark that might just get him on the final roster. The others will have a chance to show their stuff to the coaches at the OTA’s and training camp.
It all comes down to competition. These receivers will become better knowing others are pushing them. All of them have something to prove. Whether it’s to themselves or to the coaches. I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out over the next few months.