Continuing in my series of roster evaluations that shamelessly plays off of Todd Archer’s DMN series of roster evaluations, below I look at the WR and TE positions. Hey, why be original when you can just copy. I believe that was also my motto when attending college.
Terrell Owens – I love the fact that Terrell Owens has been as silent as a church mouse this offseason, although I have no idea what that saying means. Owens has had very little press contact through the OTA’s and the minicamps which gives me hope that he’s putting all the childish stuff behind him, at least temporarily, and is concentrating on getting himself and his surgically repaired finger ready for 2007. Last year was typical Owens, he led the NFL in TD catches and when properly motivated/used by an offense, he can be a big weapon. When he doesn’t feel that is happening, then the aged veteran can become a young child in temperament. New coordinator Jason Garrett, position coach Ray Sherman and QB Tony Romo will be tasked with keeping him well-fed and happy so he doesn’t bite the hand that feeds him. Physically, he’s still a wonder, although he does seem to be slowing down just a half-step, but he can still get the job done and some.
Terry Glenn – If Owens is as silent as a church mouse, Terry Glenn is as silent as the grave. The notoriously press-shy receiver lets his production on the field speak for him. And produce he has for the Cowboys. But as Archer notes, Glenn’s halcyon years have come under the watchful eye of the Tuna, his lean years come when he’s under someone else. I don’t have an explanation for it, but let’s hope he breaks the trend this year. Glenn is a consummate receiver combining speed, route running and hands to create a dangerous combination for defenses. With Jason Garrett promoting the long ball and Tony Romo coming back from a year’s worth of experience, the hope is that Owens and Glenn will form the lethal TNT combination that I predicted for them last year.
Patrick Crayton – A solid receiver who has incredible hands and good size that is perfect for a possession receiver. Crayton isn’t flashy; he just gets the job done. He will be counted on, along with Jason Witten, to make defenses pay when they concentrate on stopping the Cowboys starting wide-outs. Signed to a one-year deal in the offseason, he will be playing for a new contract and trying to solidify his position in the Cowboys’ receiver pecking order post-TNT.
Sam Hurd – As a rookie, he was the surprise of training camp by catching anything thrown his way and his ability to learn of all of the WR positions. This year he hopes to move into a regular rotation at receiver and like Crayton, is making his play for post-TNT consideration.
Miles Austin – Physically gifted, Austin has the potential to be a big-time receiver but will have to prove himself along the way. His impact in the kick return game gives him some reassurance in terms of roster spots. Now it’s up to him to show that he’s not just a special teams guy, but a legitimate threat at receiver.
Isaiah Stanback – The rookie will more than likely contribute on special teams before he gets any serious playing time at WR. He’s athletic and motivated, but will have to overcome his foot injury to make an impact.
Jamaica Rector – Simply put, he’s running out of time to secure his spot on the Cowboys with the influx of young talent at receiver.
Jamel Richardson – An ex-CFL WR, Richardson faces a battle to crack the Cowboys roster.
The other guys – Wait until training camp.
Jason Witten – The undisputed leader of the TE corps for Dallas, Witten is among the best TE’s in the league. Last year was a down year for Witten, especially in TD production, but some of that was due to the fact that Dallas used the running game at the goal line more than the passing game. This year, the Cowboys plan to use Witten more as a potential threat downfield, utilizing him as a #3 WR. There’s no reason to expect anything less than a stellar year from the star TE.
Anthony Fasano – In a mixed-review rookie year, Fasano found himself filling a couple of different roles, and excelling at none of them. His foray into lead blocking on running plays wasn’t a rousing success and he wasn’t used in the passing game to much effect. Then again, with Witten on the team, the Cowboys don’t necessarily need another pass-catching TE. Fasano has been slowed by a shoulder injury this offseason, something the Cowboys need to closely monitor because behind him there isn’t much on the roster. The Cowboys need to see an improved Fasano in year number two.
The other guys – Wait until training camp.