The countdown until Wide Receiver Amari Cooper’s highly anticipated Dallas Cowboys debut is on, but the Cowboys have also started the clock for a decision on second year WR Noah Brown. Returning to practice from his hamstring injury on Thursday, the Cowboys have until November 22nd to decide if Brown comes off injured reserve and joins the active roster.
The Cowboys would be smart to ease Brown into his first practices since training camp. Depending on his health though, Brown may have to be given the same treatment that Cooper is receiving, hardly easing his way into the Cowboys offense.
Cowboys WR Noah Brown (hamstring) also started practicing today. He’s been on IR all season. The Cowboys have a 21-day window now before they have to make a decision on moving him to the active roster.
As the Cowboys are getting healthier at wide receiver, their depth at tight end is depleting. Geoff Swaim has not practiced this week, leaving even further unproven options at his position. Blake Jarwin and Rico Gathers would be the Cowboys next options at TE, followed by rookie Dalton Schultz who played a career high 19 snaps two weeks ago at the Redskins.
It was only the second game that Schultz has appeared in this season, playing two snaps at the Panthers all the way back in week one.
What Gathers and Jarwin lack as blockers, Brown brings to the Cowboys out wide as a former teammate of Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State. It was Elliott that got his wish when the Cowboys used their last pick of the 2017 Draft on Brown, and still Elliott that the Cowboys must lean on to climb back in the NFC East race.
The Cowboys fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander during their bye week, allowing Marc Colombo to step into a bigger role. In this role, Colombo sees room for improvement in the Cowboys blocking, which should extend into first-year TE Coach Doug Nussmeier’s room.
Cowboys new offensive line coach, Marc Colombo: “We’re going to bring some violence and nasty to the game.” “The sky’s the limit for us. Right now, I think we are third in the league in rushing and I don’t think we’ve blocked particularly well.
Brown could be a welcome addition to the Cowboys lineup at TE, knowing he must do anything he can to get on the field. With Cooper, Cole Beasley, and Michael Gallup expected to earn the majority of snaps at wide receiver, finding snaps for the less-dynamic Brown is a difficult task for Scott Linehan.
Allowing Brown to play to his best strength, as Linehan is tasked to do with Cooper and the rest of his offense, is much easier.
Brown is listed at 225 pounds on the Cowboys official roster, nearly 20 pounds below the “smallest” TE in Schultz. Asking Brown to block a defensive end on his own in protection of Dak Prescott has Chaz Green in Atlanta written all over it. Keeping an open mind towards improving at WR and TE after the bye week by maximizing the team’s depth is something the Cowboys need to consider as they monitor Brown ahead of the deadline to play him this season though.
That deadline will come on Thanksgiving, when the Cowboys host the Redskins with plenty of division implications potentially on the line. Whether or not we see Brown before then, as a backup receiver that appeared in 13 games as a rookie, never playing more than 40% of the team’s snaps on offense, or in a new position will be determined as soon as Monday night against the Titans.
The Cowboys were challenged to be better on offense this season without former staples in Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. A flashy trade to address the TE position is unlikely compared to what the Cowboys sent away to acquire their new top receiver. Internal options do exist for the Cowboys to at least be functional at tight end in the running game while expecting a much improved passing attack going forward.
Noah Brown deserves to prove what he can do in both areas.