Dallas Badly Needs Kyle Wilber to Emerge ✭
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Dallas Badly Needs Kyle Wilber to Emerge

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Badly Needs Kyle Wilber to Emerge

So is it Kyle Wilbur, or Kyle Wilber?  Perhaps Willber?  Wilburrer?  Can you use it in a sentence?  Part of speech, please?

Half the meth-heads in Philly can spell Heisenberg, but some of the most staunch Cowboys faithful aren’t yet familiar enough with this 3-year vet to spell his surname with certainty.

Such is common in Football Purgatory, where Wilber found himself most of last year’s disastrous defensive campaign.  Often hurt and seldom noticed, he was a sizable hole in an ongoing Swiss-cheese defensive horror show that we watched through our fingers in the fetal position.

Fourth round bust, carve it in stone.  Yep, that’s what we had here, a career hanging by a Nike thread.  Forgettable at linebacker in the 3-4, and a mere pothole at defensive end in the 4-3.  That was Wilber, one foot already in that nowhere known as NFL Journeymanland, ducking the Turk in the hallways at Valley Ranch.

Then came a late afternoon in New Jersey.  Wilber materialized from thin air at outside linebacker against the Giants, and suddenly, he looked like an NFL player.  It felt like a midseason draft pick.

Whatever the reason – ongoing failures, mounting injuries to the team, panic and desperation, or all of the above – the coaches’ relegation worked, and Wilber’s light bulb caught a flicker.   Confidence and pace are unmistakable when a player finds his feet, and that day the hesitancy seemed to fade away.

Not enough to quell the mystery, mind you.  The Demon Deacon remains a puzzle wrapped in an enigma to most fans, including the one penning this read, and I’m not sure if he arrived or if he just stood out among the vagrants passing through.  I really, really, really hope it was the former.  And I think it might be.

This team needs a Dixon Edwards or Mike Hegman to lock down a spot in quietude.  I so much want to take Wilber for granted like I did those guys in their day.  Good teams rely on steady supporting casts, even more so than flash and dash.  You know the kind.

Still, idle fan and media chatter seldom finds Wilber.  It invariably frequents the likes of Lee and Carter and McClain and Durant.  Even Holloman and the rookies are getting blind pub for plays not yet made.  Little is made of Wilber, though he’s bucking for a starting nod as much as anyone.  The coaches know better, thankfully.

That’s gotta happen – Wilber locking down a starting job – for this defense to re-legitimize.  He needs to fully arrive, not as a hopeful, but as a sturdy presence that Dallas can count on, so it can cast its worries elsewhere.  There just aren’t enough of those known cats on defense, especially at linebacker.

There’s already a battle in the middle left by yet another injury to Sean Lee.  Marinelli’s pet cat (in case you’re reading, Jerry) seems to be rebuilding Bruce Carter into what he was, before he wasn’t.  This corps begs for a steady hand at one of the three stations, and my hopes are with Wilber.  I just don’t get the warm-and-fuzzies over Justin Durant playing there.

So it’s Wilber, with an “e”.  Lest we have good reason not to forget it.

A jilted, frustrated, but eternally optimistic season-ticket holder.

  • Tarheel Paul

    Dude. I love the style of your writing. So great job.

    I’m one of those weird football nerds that is completely fired up about the battle for the SLB. Between Wilber (did I spell write) and Holloman I think the competition is going to be stout.

    The only part that I disagree with is the part about Holloman receiving blind praise for plays not made yet. He made lots of plays in the preseason last year and had 2 terrific games towards the end of the year. Especially against Philly.

    But I completely agree with your overall view that he is the forgotten guy. Rarely do you hear his named mentioned until you rattle through the names of Durant, Carter, Holloman, and even Hitchens.

    • Erod

      Thanks, Paul. I think Holloman will be in the mix at MLB if McClain doesn’t take it by the throat. Dallas needs Wilber, Holloman, as well as Hitchins and Smith, to add much to this group.

  • Draft Cowboys™

    Well written. I guess I am of the rare breed that I am counting on Wilber to do something for this team. And I project him to start. My pet cat so to speak is Devonte Holloman and I am hoping for an intense battle at SAM.

    • Erod

      Let’s hope both take a big step forward.

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      Am I the only one who sees middle LB as a toss-up this year? I’m sure camp will yield a stand-out or two, and there are a few good candidates for it. Definitely some favorites among DCN that seem to be Holloman, Carter and Wilber. But the position is still at the mercy of largely unknown entities. Even the vet Spencer is unknown coming off his injury.

      Can’t wait for camp to get some of these questions settled a bit. Great write-up, Erod.

      • Draft Cowboys™

        Justin Durant seems to be the front runner in that regard but personally I don’t feel that he should be. Durant is great sideline to sideline stopping the run but he is lacking in the passing game. Of course as I mentioned my pet cat Holloman should get a look there. The dark horse could be the rookie Hitchens. They drafted him for depth but when all is said and done he could be the saving grace.

        Then there is the wild card Rolando McClain. Does he or doesn’t he want to play football? Man is younger than Sean Lee and has retired..twice. He wants to play then this can be a good thing for Dallas. I know he can hit, just ask Jason Witten’s spleen.

        • Erod

          In a perfect scenario, it will be McClain. That dude was a ferocious college linebacker, and he’s only 24. He was an excellent student in college, so his issues aren’t of that capacity; in fact, he’s said to get furious with teammates who don’t know their assignments. His is an inability to control his temper, and a group of family and friends that “Tyron’d” him when he turned pro. The word is he cut ties with those folks, but time will tell.

          • bleatherman2011

            Another great write up E. Unless he is sever bipolar, it looks as if McClain has possibly grown up some. If he has, and we can get him caught up with the D. We have a steal my friend, and one very intriguing problem going into next season at MLB with Lee and McClain. (future write up for someone)
            But to the strongside linebacker position. In my opinion, you cant keep Holloman off the field. He is always around the ball. I heard it was second or third day of tc and he was playing MLB and picked off a Romo pass. I don’t care where he play’s he just needs to be on the field. He played extremely well for a rookie last season that never played MLB before.

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