With the Cowboys season having recently passed the mid-way point, a lot of the chit-chat recently has naturally been focused on our impressions of how the Dallas Cowboys have measured up to our preseason expectations. Sure there have been quite a few areas where the team has fallen short of what the fans expected them to achieve, but there have been a few things that have taken all of us by surprise, in a good way. While chowing down on large order of chicken wings supplied by yours truly (Yes, just like on the team plane, the rookie gets delegated the "honor" of supplying the veterans with a few munchies), the conversation turned to things that have been the best surprise over the past eight weeks.
OCC: My biggest surprise is George Selvie. He's not getting a lot of attention because he's largely viewed as an injury replacement without a future. After all, he's already on his fourth NFL team in four years, never started a game in four NFL seasons and was released by the Jaguars (gasp!).
Dawn: Yeah, Selvie might have found his niche in the league. After kicking around the NFL for a few years, it looks like he has found a scheme that fits his skill-set and under Rod Marinelli he is finally showing some of the form that won him Big East Defensive Player Of The Year and All-America honors at South Florida. Selvie has spent his career as the walking embodiment of a journeyman, but he is a perfect fit for the job he has been asked to do in Dallas.
OCC: George Selvie doesn't have a lot of name recognition, but he's got more production than many who do. Selvie is ranked 6th among all 4-3 DEs in the league with 22 QB Hurries, almost twice as much as Jared Allen (12). He's ranked ninth among all 4-3 DEs with seven QB hits, more than Justin Tuck (6) and Jason Pierre-Paul (6). And he has five sacks, more than J.J. Watt (4.5) and Aldon Smith (4.5).
Tom: Selvie has been a surprise, but with all due respect, Your Majesty, (Next to the fabled "Fear The Star" jersey, OCC's favorite office attire is a T-shirt that proudly proclaims him to be the "Pet Cat King". For some reason this always brings out the snarky side of Mr. Ryle. I suspect that might be because the back side of the shirt proudly boasts Ron Leary-2012 and Jakar Hamilton-2013) it is this years rookie class that steals the show. The biggest surprise for me is how well they have done. With Jeff Heath stepping up for J.J. Wilcox, they have now contributed six starters in various games. Only B.W. Webb and DeVonte Holloman have not been a starter at some point this season, and Webb may get a shot this week with Claiborne out. How often do you see that happen?
Dave: Well, I think maybe OCC is sort of on the right track; he just named the wrong guy. Think back over the past couple of seasons. The Cowboys have one player who is the polar opposite of what he has shown in recent seasons; my biggest surprise has to be the play of Doug Free. I never expected that he could recover the way he has; he seems better than when he had his couple of good years a while back. I thought the Cowboys would probably have to pay the price for keeping Free, even at a reduced rate. Instead, he's been rock-solid out there at right tackle. We hardly ever talk about him anymore except when PFF grades come out each week. What a turnaround.
Tom: Good call on Free. Shows how he has slipped from our consciousness with his good play.
Dawn: Well, I sort of expected Doug to have a solid season, but I was pretty sure that he would do so in a different uniform. Glad I was wrong on that one. The "nominees" so far have been good, and I am impressed with the rookies as well. They have contributed a lot more than I expected, but there is one guy, a UDFA, that has caught my eye; Jeff Heath. He came in as a camp body out of Saginaw State and fought his way into the mix. Not only did he battle his way on to the practice squad and eventually on to the game day roster; he acquitted himself pretty well in his first start against Detroit. Nine tackles and a forced fumble; that's a solid day for anyone, much less a player that wasn't on anyone's radar a few months ago. Since I didn't pick a pet cat this year, I'm going to refer to Heath as a "rescue" cat.
Joey: My biggest surprise in the first half has been Terrance Williams. He has now scored a touchdown in each of the last four games and has been a big play threat whether its a deep throw down field or a catch and run 60-yd score. He is still catching with his body a little too much, but he's become a viable weapon who can get open and makes big plays when he gets the opportunity. If he continues to progress, he and Dez will create a scary combination for NFC East defensive coordinators for a long time.
Dawn: Joey, I can't dispute that fact. TWill has certainly stepped up as a rookie, and at a position where it usually takes a few years to get real production. He and Dez should be causing havoc for years to come.
Dave: This has been an interesting discussion, but we need to get some fresh material out for the front page. Back to work, folks. Oh, and Dawn...make sure the break room gets cleaned up this time. You never know who KD will drag in here for an interview and I want to make sure we always leave a good impression on our guests.
Tom: Thanks for the wings, Rook. Next time pick up some of those wipe things, too.
More from Blogging The Boys:
- Cowboys 2013 Season: How The Cowboys Bend Stats To The Middle
- Cowboys Injury Report: DeMarcus Ware Still Not Practicing, Barry Church Practices
- SB Nation Video Preview: Vikings @ Cowboys
- Cowboys News & Notes: Can They Find Relief Against The Vikings?
- The Weekly BEast Report: Our Look At The Rest Of The NFC East
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