If you have read my posts as a front page writer, or as a fan, you should know by now that I'm a huge booster of both Rico Gathers and Randy Gregory.
For example, after last season, I wrote a FPW post called Twelve reasons to be optimistic about the Dallas Cowboys in 2018. I didn't get everything right in there. I thought the Cowboys might try to keep Anthony Hitchens, but instead they drafted LVE. I thought they'd keep Dez for another year, but I'm not sorry they moved on. I didn't expect Witten to retire.
Here was reason number two.
Second, the Cowboys could get a massive boost from two surprise players that we’ve been waiting for.
Who are those guys? Randy Gregory and Rico Gathers.
Randy Gregory’s ability to play remains at the discretion of Roger Goodell, and we know that’s not something that can be counted on to turn out well. But if and when he does return, he could be an absolute force as a speed rusher from the right side.
Here’s what Gregory did in his last game for the Cowboys.
Eight tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss, and a quarterback hit. No defensive linemen has had close to that many tackles in a game this year. Pretty impressive for his second game after a very long layoff.
If the Cowboys re-sign DeMarcus Lawrence, and lock up David Irving for next year before signing him the year after, Randy Gregory could give this group an added dimension. With these guys in the fold, plus an improving Taco Charlton, Maliek Collins, and Tyrone Crawford for another year, the Cowboys will have a formidable defensive line. Gregory provides the speed the team has been lacking. They could terrorize opposing quarterbacks.
It was so disappointing not to see what Rico Gathers could do this year after his eye-opening pre-season in just a couple of games. He’s an athletic freak who will be a mismatch for opponents. He’s too tall and big for most defensive backs, he’s too fast for most linebackers, he has great hands, and players bounce off him trying to bring him to the ground.
I know this is a huge projection, but it’s possible that Gathers could become the Cowboys biggest receiving threat if they just give him the chance. There are several tight ends who are the best receivers on their teams - Gronk, Travis Kelce, Antonio Gates (in his prime), Greg Olsen, and others. Gathers could become that guy. Scoff if you want. I think he can add a new dimension to the Cowboys’ offsense.
The only thing holding Gathers back may be the Cowboys’ coaching staff, which seems too conservative and too wedded to Jason Witten. After the debacle of 2017, I’m optimistic they will realize they need to make some changes.
With Witten now gone, and the news today that Tyrone Crawford just gave testimony in favor of Randy Gregory's reinstatement, we are moving closer to getting these two players back on the field.
I also penned a post that pointed out Randy Gregory hasn't really done anything wrong, and should never have been punished by the NFL. That received 209 comments as a fanpost, never being flipped to the front page.
So here's the deal. So many writers, including some front page writers on this blog, have written off Rico Gathers and/or Randy Gregory, casting nothing but doubts about their return, or impact on the team if and when they do return.
What gets me about so many of the doubters is they say that Gathers hasn't proven himself. Yet they place Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin ahead of him, even though they have done even less to prove themselves. What's up with that? Sure, Geoff Swaim has caught a few passes in real games, but has he ever looked like Gathers did in the pre-season? And before you question pre-season, remember that's what they said about Dak Prescott before his rookie year.
I want to give you the opportunity, right now, before we know anything from OTAs or get further news about either player, to post your comments below, where you can either join the bandwagon and believe these guys are going to be awesome contributors to the Cowboys in 2018, or continue to be naysayers who don't believe.
Do you believe:
Randy Gregory will return to the field for Dallas in 2018 and make a major impact?
Rico Gathers will return to the field for Dallas in 2018 and make a major impact?
Time to make your choice.