Today we continue our midseason review series by answering the question, “Who are two players you want to see more of in the second half.”
Standing with a 2-7 record, the Cowboys should have plenty of chances to get some young players on the field in the second half. Despite being mathematically alive in the NFC East, Dallas will likely prioritize getting a look at some younger talent.
So far this season we’ve seen guys like Tony Pollard, Donovan Wilson, and Cedrick Wilson play well in limited playing time. The Cowboys would be smart to give these guys a closer look, and play them in some higher-leverage situations in the second half.
Now onto who the BTB Writers want to see more of in the second half......
My first choice should be no surprise: Garrett Gilbert showed us a lot in his first ever NFL start, against a pretty stout defense. Oh, and the only undefeated team left in the NFL as well. I really want to see what he can do against some less capable teams, and outside of the Baltimore Ravens, that is pretty much all the Cowboys have left on the schedule. It looks like I won’t get my wish unless Andy Dalton has a setback, which I really don’t wish on anyone.
As for the second, give me Reggie Robinson II. He is just a great unknown, but given that he was drafted in the fourth round, this seems like the perfect situation to find out what he might be able to contribute in the secondary. His selection came between Neville Gallimore and Tyler Biadasz, and they both have done very well once they got a chance on the field. It is past time to line Robinson up, whether at corner or safety, and see what he can do.
The two players I want to see more of are Bradlee Anae and Eli Ankou. I was banging the drum for Anae all through the draft process, so I was thrilled to actually get him. I understand prioritizing snaps for Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory, both of whom look great, but let’s get Anae some snaps along the edge to at least get some evaluation of him going into next year. For Ankou, his limited action against the Steelers has me wanting more, and if he can extrapolate that kind of play over a substantial amount of snaps the Cowboys may have a legit piece in the middle moving forward. But we need to see more to get an idea of what we have first.
While there are a lot of young raw players I want to see, I believe that will happen in due time, therefore my choices are going to veteran players who are in the last year of their contract. We only have seven games left to evaluate them before some tough decisions need to be made. The first one that pops for me is Garrett Gilbert. Too many times this Cowboys team has just gone off the rails due to not having an adequate backup QB. I want to find out if Gilbert can be that guy. There is nothing to be gained by playing Andy Dalton. We know what kind of quarterback he is, and we also know he’s not likely to be here next year. Dalton would be fine in a temporary, keep-the-team-afloat-type situation, but this season is lost.
Let’s find out what they have in Gilbert so they can take appropriate measures in the offseason to make sure they have a solid backup. The next player could be any of the three defensive backs hitting free agency next year - Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, or Xavier Woods. Personally, I’ve seen enough of Lewis. He’s fine, but he’s not as great as some make him out to be. Woods is also fine, but he hasn’t been able to take that next step. For me, I want to see what Chido can do with the new coaches. Watching Trevon Diggs get his head turned around to make a play on the ball makes me wonder how good Awuzie could be if he did the same thing. Him missing half the season due to injury just might make him affordable like Anthony Brown was last offseason, and that could work out well if Chido can show enough to keep the staff interested.
The two players I’d like to see more of in the second half of the season are defensive tackle Neville Gallimore and center Tyler Biadasz. Both have recently been given the opportunity for more playing time, Gallimore with injuries along the defensive line and the release of Dontari Poe, and Biadasz after an injury to Joe Looney. Gallimore really showed flashes against the Steelers and seemed to be making plays in the backfield every time he was in the game. Biadasz was stepping his game up and was set to take over the starting role at center until a hamstring injury last week. Both, I believe, with more time on the field, will blossom into key players for the Cowboys in the future.
Two players I want to see more of in the second half are quarterback Garrett Gilbert, and wideout Cedrick Wilson. In regards to Gilbert, he showed some signs of promise in his first career start against Pittsburgh. The improvement from Ben DiNucci to Gilbert was exponential, and he was so close to leading Dallas to the upset victory. Dallas will give Andy Dalton the next four or so games, but Gilbert should be the guy for the last two or three. With Dalton able to depart after the season, the Cowboys need to see if Gilbert can repeat his performance, and be trusted enough to be the backup next year.
In regards to Wilson, when he’s been on the field this season, good things have happened. Looking, I’m as big of a Michael Gallup fan as any, but if Wilson is able to prove he can play at a high level as a number three wideout, you have to consider dealing Gallup for some help on defense. Even if you keep Gallup, he almost certainly will test free agency after next season, and Wilson could be an easy replacement waiting in the wings.
Let us know what you think about our answers, and drop your two players in the comment section below.