As I was watching NFL Network a few days ago, they showed an interview reporters had with Roy Williams before a tournament at Cowboys Golf Club. This is Roy's first public appearance to talk about the Dallas Cowboys 2010 season. The reporters wanted to know how Roy was going to prepare for the upcoming season and, Cowboys fans favorite topic...our first round draft pick.
" I know people are thinking that he is going come in and take my spot (with his signature nervous smile. Like he just dropped another one of Romo's balls that hit him right in the hands. Hoping that he can make things right with the the leader of the team. Going back into the huddle as the camera is zoomed into his unshielded facemask) and all that mess and you know it's not all about that," Roy comments about Dez Bryant's immediate impact on the team and being a threat to take his number 1 receiver spot. Roy continues, "I don't think it's gonna happen anyways". He then tries to smooth over his bold statement by including ,"I embrace the challenge and what not, but I just think he's gonna come in and help this football team win 3 more ball games". Yeah...of course, he was brought in to make us win more games and eventually win us a Super Bowl! Way to go out on a limb Roy!...drafting a receiver first round was to fill a void that you still haven't been able to do on your own since receiving your 5 year, $45 million contract. Jerry Jones got Dez Bryant for that reason and more. Roy needs to start reading the writing on the walls, or at least admit to it. It's time for a major upgrade Roy, and earn your money!
I just don't understand how he still seems to not have chemistry with Tony Romo. Romo has no problems getting the ball out to anyone else on the team. But, practically, every ball that is thrown to Number 11's way is out of reach some how...some way. Let's include all that time that was spent in the offseason trying to get a rhythm with the routes. It just boggles my mind! Roy Williams is a 2006 Pro Bowl Wide Receiver and he has, less than, half the stats as what Miles Austin and Jason Witten, with Miles only starting 12 games.
Roy replies to the upcoming competition of this years best receiver in the draft, Dez Bryant, with "I'm just gonna go through this like I'm the man...like I've always been and it's never gonna change". Really? Do you really need to make that statement Roy? This isn't a game of opinions and 'he said, she said' stuff. This is a game of stats. Obviously, Number 11's stats don't add up to being "the man". It's plain and simple. Why would he say something like that? You never hear Michael Irvin or Emmitt Smith needing to claim to the media that they are 'the man', when competition for their position is a factor. This is a situation where it's not a spoken matter. This is something that should just be known. It should be something that is known throughout your team, your fans, media, and even people who don't follow closely to the Dallas Cowboys, but know the NFL.
Another thing that bothers me about that comment is that Roy should be truly embracing his new teammate. He should be completely hopeful for the team and where it is headed. Most importantly, he needs to be a veteran leader to Dez Bryant. Someone, whom Dez will be looking toward to give him a little guidance on the field when times get rough for the rookie. Dez can't always count on Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin for everything. There is a time when someone just needs to step up and show the rookie 'the ropes'. So, I guess this ends up being placed on Miles Austin's shoulders. Well....why not? Miles worked his way from the bottom of the roster to the absolute top. Who else would we want to show our, 'up and coming' star, rookie wide receiver how to work hard and making something big of himself. Who else to give Dez a little push 'here, but not there' kind of attitude?...especially while they are on the field.
So what is our "Number 1" Receiver's job for the offseason? Wade Phillips wants for Roy not to be so upright whenever he is coming off his routes. "It's just little certain things they want me to do, and I'm willing to try and do them to be a better player" Roy states to the media. I don't mean to nit pick but, when does Master Yoda come into the picture and tell Roy "try you must not! you either do or you don't"? He just needs to step up and be that leading receiver on the field, without any questions. I know that he has his own particular way of running routes, but clearly it's not working right now. I know that the stat of 8 dropped balls is all that's going to be talked about with this upcoming season, from start to finish. It's not the 8 drops exactly...but in a ways it is. Any person who truly knows football that... Some times,...(just sometimes!...notice sarcasm)receivers don't run their routes correctly and it's not the QB's fault. Look at T.O. and the interceptions that he caused Romo before he was given the axe by Jerry.
Look! Seriously! I didn't write this article just to bash Roy Williams like the rest of Dallas Cowboys fans have been. I am all for improvement and doing everything in a very positive manner, but I am just being realistic here with his comments. I am just trying to articulate the frustration that has come from dedicated Dallas Cowboys fans for the past year and a half. They want their moneys worth out of him. I am sure Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Wade Phillips, Ray Sherman, Jason Garrett, and Tony Romo do too...especially when it's 3rd and long and we need a 'go to' receiver when Witten and Austin have been overused.
Roy said of his highly criticized dropped balls. "I would bet anybody in this world I won't come anywhere close to what I had last year," he also said, "It won't even be half. You want to take that bet? I won't even come close. I promise you. I promise you, you, you, you and you and every fan out there. I won't even come close." I truly hope so. I truly hope that Roy doesn't gets that nervous energy out of him before the season starts...cause this is probably going to be this seasons main topic. Welcome to the Dalls Cowboys Roy!...as if you need a reintroduction to the constant pressure of being a wide receiver for America's Team. I know that Dez has the passion and the talent, let's see what happens next.
Don't be intimidated Roy! Just do your job and please, please, please earn your money!...that's the nicest any Dallas Cowboys fan will ever be concerning everything that's gone on since mid-2008...don't ever get use to it.
Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition
In the NFL, the third preseason week is often referred to as the "Dress Rehearsal." It's usually the week in which starters get the most playing time. That has changed lately, with plenty of teams deciding to take care of their key players instead of risking them on the field. However, the Dallas Cowboys have played their starters on their first two games and there's no reason to believe that will change versus the Texans today.
Here is my wishlist for the Cowboys vs Texans "Dress Rehearsal!" Let me know what your wishes for tonight's game are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!
Wish #1: Justin Phillips Locks Up a Roster Spot
Phillips has been one of the most surprising players this offseason and preseason. The Cowboys are set at linebacker, but Phillips has made sure to be a tough guy to cut. Last week, he had a remarkable interception against the Rams. Despite making a first step toward the line, he managed to adjust and made the play. He has followed it up with more plays in practice.
If he keeps it up, the Cowboys won't be able to cut him. He has the potential to be a force on special teams and a quality backup.
Wish #2: Devin Smith Makes Things Interesting
The battle for the final wide receiver spots is at full-go. Devin Smith has shined lately, and has risen as a serious candidate to make the roster. However, it seems like other wide receivers have the upper-hand as of now. Earlier this week, I made my Cowboys WR Power Rankings and had Devin Smith at #7.
His TD catch versus the Rams last week was pretty impressive, and I wish he makes a few more plays to make the debate all the more interesting.
Wish #3: Tony Pollard Does It Again
Fifth-round rookie Tony Pollard
stole was the show last weekend as he racked up 51 total yards (five carries, one catch) and a touchdown on Dallas' first offensive drive. He looked impressive as the starting running back, giving us just what we wanted to see.
While many have advertised him as a gadget player, Pollard proved he can actually be a "standard" RB. He ran between the tackles, showed power, balance and great vision. I'm ready to watch it again, this time versus the Texans.
Wish #4: Taco Charlton Shines Rushing The Passer
Taco Charlton has made a couple of plays in preseason on his third year with the Dallas Cowboys. Against the Rams, he batted down two passes and looked good separating from opposing offensive linemen. Charlton has gotten praise from some analysts during these first two preseason weeks.
But I want to watch some quality pass rush from his part. Right now, the Cowboys' roster counts with some promising players, including rookies Jalen Jelks and Joe Jackson. While they're currently below Taco, he must prove he belongs on the roster.
Cowboys’ Tight End Marcus Lucas with Huge Opportunity vs the Houston Texans
With only two preseason games remaining, opportunities to make a statement are growing thin. The Dallas Cowboys have very few spots on the roster available, especially at the tight end position where Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz appear to have the depth chart locked down. The problem is, Jarwin and Schultz have been dealing with injuries and missed the second preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams and probably won't play against the Houston Texans tonight.
Enter Marcus Lucas.
Marcus Lucas hasn't been a member of the Dallas Cowboys for very long, but he's already made an impact.
In his first preseason game with the Dallas Cowboys, Lucas caught four passes on four targets for 20 yards. His receptions went for two, seven, five, and six yards for an average of five yards per reception. He did have a holding penalty that cost the Dallas Cowboys 10 yards on a first down play that didn't go anywhere anyway.
Though Lucas has bounced around NFL practice squads, he's never really found a home. After going undrafted in 2014, Lucas was signed by the Carolina Panthers in May of that year but wasn't able to stick on the 53-man roster and was released and placed on the practice squad. In 2015, he was on the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears practice squads. In 2016, the Panthers brought him back in the summer after the Bears released him from their 90-man roster. That September after cut-down day, the Seattle Seahawks signed Lucas to their practice squad where he spent all of 2016. From 2017 to the end of 2018, Lucas spent time with the Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions, the Seattle Seahawks again, and the San Francisco 49ers. He was with the 49ers in 2019 before joining the Dallas Cowboys about two weeks ago and will get an extended run in these final two preseason games.
At Thursday's practice, Lucas was the only tight end available with Jason Witten getting a rest day and Jarwin, Schultz, and fellow Tight End Cody McElroy dealing with injuries.
With Jason Witten getting a day of rest, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz and Codey McElroy injured, the Cowboys have one tight end practicing today: Marcus Lucas, who has been with the team for about two weeks.
It's possible that Lucas may get an extended amount of playing time tonight with an opportunity to show the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL that he's ready to land on a 53-man roster. With likely only Jason Witten being the only other tight end active for the game against the Houston Texans, Lucas will get a lot of playing time. If his last preseason exposure is any indication, he'll get the chance to display his receiving prowess.
At 27, Lucas likely has few opportunities left to make his mark for an NFL franchise. On a team that proclaims the "next man up" as a battle cry, after Witten, Lucas is the next man up for tonight and depending on his performance could make the Dallas Cowboys front office or another front office around the league take notice.
Depending on the long-term health of the Dallas Cowboys' tight end position, Lucas may find his path to a roster spot simply dependent upon the health of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. Though a job may not come with the Dallas Cowboys, tonight is an extremely important audition for his next suitor. How he performs tonight could land Marcus Lucas a job after the Dallas Cowboys trim the roster to 53 next week.
They say "preseason games don't matter," but to Marcus Lucas, this might be the most important game of his career.
Don’t Forget Special Teams Value in Cowboys Roster Decisions
Building a 53-man roster in the NFL is a complex formula, requiring balance between numerous positions on each side of the ball. But what often gets overlooked in our analysis as outsiders is special teams, and that's a huge factor for many of the Dallas Cowboys players hoping to make it past final cuts.
Some players have survived in the league by being just good enough at their listed positions but excelling in special teams roles. You may think of former Dallas safety Bill Bates, who was personally responsible for a special teams player being made part of the annual Pro Bowl roster. A more recent example would be Keith Davis, who was an adequate safety but a special teams ace for several seasons.
To be sure, someone is going to be on this 2019 Cowboys more for their special teams value than their actual offensive or defensive ability. Who might he, or they, be?
One candidate is veteran Cornerback C.J. Goodwin. He is considered an exceptional talent in coverage on punts, which is probably the only reason he's still in the NFL today. At age 29, Goodwin has never really emerged as a consistent contributor on defense.
Young players like Donovan Olumba or rookie Michael Jackson, if not already superior cornerbacks to Goodwin, have far more upside to keep on the roster. But
considering how little they may get on the field anyway as the fifth or sixth corners, you can see why special teams value becomes so important. It may be the only time you actually see them in the game.
If the Cowboys don't want to lose a young prospect but can't let go of Goodwin's special teams ability, it may prompt them to go long at the CB position. But that means taking a roster spot from some other position, and thus the balancing act continues.
Another player to watch in this discussion is second-year an Running Back Jordan Chunn. He doesn't have Alfred Morris' experience or maybe Mike Weber or Darius Jackson's rushing talent, but he has been showing up on the special teams units.
Yesterday, Cowboys insider Bryan Broaddus called Chunn "a better Rod Smith" in analyzing his chances of making the roster. If you don't recall, Jaylon's older brother was a solid RB but a standout special teams player in his few years with Dallas.
As we just mentioned with the 5th/6th CB slots, the third running back is not a guy you expect to see much on offense. That will be especially true this year as Dallas will be struggling just to give rookie Tony Pollard the touches he deserves as the number-two RB.
Given that, special teams play becomes vital for the value of whoever is behind Zeke and Pollard on the depth chart. If Jordan Chunn is superior to his competition in that regard, it could negate whatever he lacks as an actual running back.
This same conversation can be had throughout the roster. It's why Noah Brown might make the team over more traditionally gifted receivers, or why a certain linebacker or safety might be more valued than others.
We make the common mistake of referring to "both sides of the ball" when we talk about football teams. There are three sides; special teams can't be underestimated. It will certainly play a part in how the Dallas Cowboys finalize their 53-man roster this season and in years to come.
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Zeke Holdout: Remember, Owners Agreed to Renegotiating Contracts
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Michael Gallup Showing WR1 Talent in Amari Cooper’s Absence
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
5 Dallas Cowboys Backups Who Have Earned More Playing Time
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Looking Absolutely Stacked
Player News2 days ago
Report: Cowboys Offer Ezekiel Elliott a Contract to Make him the NFL’s Second Highest-Paid RB
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 3
Game Notes2 weeks ago
3 Studs and Duds From Dallas Cowboys Preseason Week 1 Matchup
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2