Or so it seems that’s what we’re expecting from many of our young players. While we all opine if JJ et all has truly assembled talented players, if we lack depth, if we neglect certain position groups and all that, it seems appropriate to discuss how we evaluate our players.
I think we have it right on a few players after all these years. Miles Austin, Sean Lee and DeMarco Murray can all play, if they can stay healthy, but they can’t. For me, I look to get what we seem to be getting this year out of Murray and Lee, sure they miss a game or two, but if you can get 12+ quality games a year out of them, they’re worth it.
While we still need Miles, he’s proven we can’t rely on him. I’d argue the only reason we traded for Roy…I can’t say his last name, it burns! Is because Miles was hurt, again. Miles was actually beginning his breakout season that year. His injury is what led to our feeling like we needed another WR threat opposite of TO. Had Miles stayed healthy, I doubt we ever make that trade.
The cap and development of the guys behind him need to be considered, but surely it’s time to plan for life without Austin. Oh what could have been.
Then we have the guys like Mo, Crawford and Johnson. We think there is something there, but they can’t get on the field long enough, or at all to know if they can truly play at this level. If they don’t get healthy by next year, the answer is likely going to be not, though Mo probably gets one more year after that.
But what about the guys who we brought in to develop over a year or three that have been forced into action, in part to some of the guys listed above? Guys like Jeff Heath, Ron Leary, B.W. Webb and Joseph Randle?
While it’s easy to pile on guys like the mythical Johnson, I don’t get the hate for the four listed above. Let’s take a look at what we have here. Ronald Leary, UFA due to a potentially bad knee that can shorten his career.
Ron has the strength to play G at this level, but it was believed he needed time to grasp the mental aspect of the game. The belief as I understand it was he’d be a quality back up with the potential to start one day.
Enter 2013, his 2nd year. Most linemen prospects take 3-5 years to develop. Injury to Livings forced Leary into action just one year into his development. He has a rookie to his right and a 22 year old to his left, these are not fully developed vets. You typically like to work young linemen in with vets next to them to help them out, Leary was not afforded this luxury. He had to hit the ground running and learn to protect for a QB that rarely hands the ball off.
While Leary has had his struggles, he’s not been terrible. I think we need to remember some of the terrible performances not just here, but in the league that require linemen to be benched or cut. Leary has started every game this year and is healthy.
Our line was ranked pretty high prior to Waters going out and while Leary has a ways to go, he’s not getting Romo killed. I think Leary has some real promise over the next 3-7 years, I for one hope his knee can hold up so he has that chance.
B.W. Webb, 4th round pick drafted for depth and to potentially replace Scandrick one day. Mo can’t seem to stay on the field and has not always looked very good when he’s able too. The plan was not for Webb to start this year or even play major minutes. But he’s been asked to step in and run with the starters.
He’s showing why he was a 4th round pick and has a ways to go, but how many rookie corners look good? He’s working hard and shows long term promise. And he’s healthy.And speaking of Scandrick, a perfect example of why you don't cut rookies after a few bad games...
Jeff Heath, this is my favorite one to question why people want to see him cut. Keep in mind he’s an UDFA who was supposed to develop behind Allen, Church, Johnson and Wilcox. Since Allen was not very good, Wilcox and Johnson can’t stay healthy and McCray is not a viable option, Heath manned up and went in.
The naysayers are ticked that he did not single handedly bring down AP in the open field, because as we all know, most DB's chuck him on his butt right? I however saw this UDFA look AP right in the eyes, square up and stop him in his tracks. The only thing preventing it from being a great tackle was AP’s teammate grabbing him just before his knee hit, standing him up and pushing him. Where was the help from Heath’s teammates?Those are the guys I'm mad at.
Compared to guys like TNew, Jenkins, Sanders, Mo, Sensy, Ball and many others that would have stepped to the side, it was great to see Heath square him up. I would expect that after a year or two of strength training, Heath will be able to make that tackle.
Randle is exactly what they thought, a tough guy who can fill in when Murray is out. He sees the holes well and runs hard. He needs to develop his pass protection but he's a good guy to have when Murray goes down. If Dunbar continues to progress, Randle is a great insurance policy.
I don’t expect these guys to become pro-bowlers, but considering where they were drafted or not and that they’ve had to jump in before it was intended, I think they deserve a little more credit and at least another year to see what they’ve got before some run them out of town.
Let's give them a chance to walk.