Jason Garrett speaks to the media LIVE from Valley Ranch as his team begins their preparations for the Giants. See what he has to say about the injury to Sean Lee and how it could affect the team going forward.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have cut wide receiver Raymond Radway from the practice squad two weeks after signing him.
With Danny Coale healthy again after a hamstring strain, the Cowboys did not need a third wide receiver on the practice squad. Radway was among the Cowboys’ final cuts in the preseason after he failed to make a catch. He struggled in his return from a fractured ankle suffered in the final preseason game of 2011.
Outside linebacker Jerry Brown replaced Radway on the practice squad. Brown floated between Indianapolis’ practice squad and active roster after signing with the team earlier this year. Brown, 25, played at Illinois and wasn’t drafted.
Lance Dunbar finally will get his chance to play. The Cowboys promoted him from the practice squad Monday to fill their 53-player roster. Dallas released cornerback LeQuan Lewis, a special teams standout who they brought in to help against returners Leon Washington and Devin Hester, last week.
"We’re going to bring Dunbar up and give him a chance just to contribute as a teams guy and also on offense when necessary," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday.
The Cowboys nearly called up Dunbar before the season opener against the Giants. Dunbar, North Texas’ all-time leading rusher, ran for 106 yards on 18 carries in the preseason and caught three passes for 11 yards.
Dunbar could be a possibility on kickoff returns. He had three punt returns in the preseason but did not handle any kickoff returns. Felix Jones has averaged 21.5 yards on kick returns this season, and the Cowboys rank next to last in average start after a kickoff (19.2 yard line).
"He’s a quick guy," Garrett said. "He’s shown that he can be a good gunner and make some plays. He’s very aggressive and active. So want to give him a chance to do that. He’s also done some returning for us as well. So just wherever he’s needed. We’ll give him some work in practice at the different spots and see how he responds."
The Dallas Cowboys also brought back receiver Raymond Radway, signing him to the practice squad. Radway spent last season on injured reserve and was among the team’s final cuts this year. Danny Coale has a hamstring injury, necessitating the move for practice purposes.
RELATED: Radway will help Cowboys get through practice while others not at full speed
Wide receiver Raymond Radway is “more healthy now,” one reason the Cowboys have brought him back.
The team announced today the signing of Radway to the practice squad and the promotion of running back Lance Dunbar from the practice squad to the active roster.
“He had a really good preseason two preseasons ago and got hurt and missed all of last year and came back this past training camp and really wasn’t himself, and was trying to fight through some things,” Garrett said. “But we feel like he’s more healthy now and we needed a receiver on the practice roster, just really to help us function in practice, and we thought he was a good one to give another chance to.”
Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree and practice squad receiver Danny Coale worked with trainers in practice Monday.
In preseason two years ago, as an undrafted rookie, Radway caught six passes for 91 yards and averaged 25.4 yards on four kickoff returns. He was set to make the 53-man roster. But he suffered a broken leg with three seconds left in the final preseason game and spent the rest of the year on injured reserve.
He had one kickoff return for 26 yards.
IRVING, Texas – While the players and coaches will be off most of the weekend here during the bye, the Cowboys are still trying to churn the bottom of the roster.
There is an open roster spot, and the Cowboys have worked out two players now this week after former receiver Raymond Radway had a workout Friday at Valley Ranch.
Radway has spent the last two training camps with the team and all of last year on injured reserve after he broke his leg on the final play of the 2011 preseason. Radway returned this season and just didn’t show the same burst during training camp and the four preseason games.
He worked out for the scouts and selected coaches on Friday. Radway does have practice-squad eligibility so there is a chance the Cowboys could sign him to the squad and call up another player to the active roster.
The current practice squad consists of receivers Danny Coale and Tim Benford, defensive tackles Robert Calloway and Ben Bass, guard Ron Leary, fullback Jamize Olawale and running back Lance Dunbar, who actually went on a road trip to New York to start the season with the plan he would be called up to the roster. That never materialized but Dunbar is someone with speed and quickness that could bolster the special teams.
Earlier this week, the Cowboys worked out former cornerback Bryan McCann, although it’s unlikely he will be re-signed at this point.
The Dallas Cowboys released long snapper Charley Hughlett, tackle Levy Adcock, punter Delbert Alvarado, tight end Harry Flaherty, receiver David Little, tackle Tyrone Novikoff, receiver Raymond Radway, running back Javarris Williams and cornerback C.J. Wilson. They also waived/injured receiver Donavon Kemp and linebacker Caleb McSurdy.
Kevin Kowalski, a guard/center who hasn’t been able to go at all since the start of training camp, has been placed on the physically unable to perform list.
The Dallas Cowboys face the San Diego Chargers in the second game of the preseason. Here’s a preview:
Who’s not playing: It would take you an hour to figure out who’s not playing for the Cowboys. We give you the highlights: OLB DeMarcus Ware, OLB Anthony Spencer, WR Miles Austin, TE Jason Witten, G Nate Livings, NT Jay Ratliff and C Phil Costa are the projected starters who will miss the game.
The starters play how much, again?: Jason Garrett wanted the first-team offense to go about 8-to-10 plays in the preseason opener at Oakland. Tonight, maybe into the second quarter, with center David Arkin expected to go into the third, maybe fourth quarter. When Arkin comes out, expect Harland Gunn to take over the center snaps. With second-team tackle Jeremy Parnell out, Jeff Adams slide in and take some snaps. Safety Barry Church played with the second team a little bit at Oakland. It could continue again.
Who needs to play well: It’s easy to say everybody, but based off the Raiders game and the last two days of practice, we’ve come up with a few names: WR Raymond Radway, CB Morris Claiborne, DE Marcus Spears, DE Kenyon Coleman, CB Mario Butler and G Ronald Leary.
Mo debuts: First-round pick Morris Claiborne will make his NFL debut at the Chargers. He’s not sure if he’ll start, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Cowboys come out in a three-cornerback setup with Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr alongside Claiborne. The rookie needs the snaps against different competition and he might play the entire first half. He’s battled Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree among others for nearly two weeks of practices, when he’s been healthy, so it will be interesting to see him against someone else.
About the series: If you’re scoring at home, this is the 14th meeting between the teams. Dallas holds the preseason series advantage at 7-6. The Chargers won the last meeting, in 2009, 20-17.
RELATED: Five players to watch vs. San Diego Chargers
Preseason game No. 2 kicks off tonight at Qualcomm Stadium against San Diego Chargers and for some players their time to make an impression is running out.
Here is a look at five guys to watch:
Alex Albright – He was everywhere against Oakland on Monday, credited with a game-high nine tackles, and he will start tonight because of DeMarcus Ware’s absence due to a slight hamstring strain. Albright is a virtual lock to make the team, but he can show he can be a regular contributor on the defense with a good performance. He will also play some inside linebacker again, which would help the team’s ability to carry more players at other positions when they make the final cuts.
Mario Butler – After a so-so offseason, Butler has done much better when the pads came on. He is not the fastest or quickest, but he has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time. He understands his limitations and stays out of trouble. He can play in the slot some and has taken some turns at safety. As the Cowboys ponder how many corners and safeties to keep, Butler could be that swing guy the way Alan Ball was a swing guy for a few seasons.
Ronald Leary – He came in with a lot of acclaim as an undrafted free agent but he has leveled off over the last week of camp. Against Oakland he tired and did not fire off the ball as well as he had been earlier in camp. The Cowboys have guaranteed him $214,000, a high number for an undrafted player, so he should make the team, but with a good showing tonight he could still work his way into the starting lineup or at least one of the active offensive linemen on Sundays.
Kevin Ogletree – Nobody likes hearing this but Ogletree has had a nice camp. Of the guys competing for the No. 3 receiver spot he has the most ability to play as a starter should something happen to Miles Austin or Dez Bryant. He does not help much on special teams but if he can prove to be reliable and make plays regardless of the quarterback tonight, he can cement a spot on the roster. Even with Andre Holmes good outing vs. the Raiders, Ogletree is still the leader for the No. 3 spot.
Mana Silva – He was a late-season pickup in 2011 after he was signed of Buffalo’s practice squad and had four special teams’ tackles. He had an interception to clinch the win at Oakland on Monday and Rob Ryan is intrigued about this prospect. Silva, however, will need to make his mark on special teams to make a dent because the Cowboys still like Matt Johnson’s potential even though the fourth-round pick has taken part in one full-padded practice in camp.
The regular season starts for the Dallas Cowboys in just a few weeks. Here’s our first of weekly projections on how the 53-man roster will shake out.
Tony Romo Kyle Orton
Comment: Teams that keep three like the third to be a young quarterback that can one day develop into a starter. Does Stephen McGee still fit that profile? Cowboys could save a roster spot here and try to slip Rudy Carpenter by on the practice squad for protection.
Running backs (5)
DeMarco Murray Felix Jones
Phillip Tanner Lance Dunbar Lawrence Vickers
Comment: The Cowboys like Dunbar, but he picked a bad time to get injured. He needs to get on the field soon to earn a spot.
Wide receiver (5)
Dez Bryant Miles Austin
Andre Holmes Danny Coale Cole Beasley
Comment: Even though Kevin Ogletree is starting now that Austin is injured, it’s not a lock he makes the team. If the team adds a veteran here as the season nears, a distinct possibility, he could lose his spot to a younger player with more upside. If the Cowboys decide to keep six here it will likely be at the expense of a running back.
Tight end (3)
Jason Witten John Phillips James Hanna
Comment: No intrigue here.
Offensive line (10)
Tyron Smith Doug Free Phil Costa Mackenzy Bernadeau Nate Livings
Ronald Leary David Arkin Jeremy Parnell Pat McQuistan Derrick Dockery
Comment: There remains a lot to sort through here but injuries to Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski have thinned the field.
Defensive line (7)
Jay Ratliff Kenyon Coleman Jason Hatcher Tyrone Crawford Sean Lissemore
Josh Brent Clifton Geathers
Comment: One veteran is likely to go as the Cowboys try to get younger in the line. Marcus Spears is odd lineman out at this stage but it could be Coleman.
DeMarcus Ware Anthony Spencer Sean Lee Bruce Carter Dan Connor
Victor Butler Kyle Wilber Alex Albright Orie Lemon
Comment: Who excels on special teams will have an edge on the final couple of spots.
Morris Claiborne Brandon Carr Mike Jenkins Orlando Scandrick
Mario Butler Barry Church Gerald Sensabaugh Matt Johnson Danny McCray
Comment: Mana Silva is still in the running for a spot. He makes plays.
Dan Bailey Chris Jones LP Ladouceur
Comment: Jones is no Mat McBriar as a punter, but he’s the best the team has in camp. It wouldn’t hurt to watch the waiver wire here.
Courtesy: David Moore
Editors Note: RED indicates an injury concern going into the season.
Here’s what stood out from Day 11 of Cowboys’ training camp practices Saturday in Oxnard, Calif.:
- The Cowboys spent a lot of time working on their hurry-up offense Saturday and working more on situational plays. The defense had the upper hand most of the practice.
- Actor Ashton Kutcher was in attendance for the Saturday afternoon practice. He spent some time watching practice with owner Jerry Jones and talked with QB Tony Romo after the practice.
- Recently signed veteran OL Derrick Dockery took first-team left guard repetitions and Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary continued to rotate at first-team right guard.
- With starting C Phil Costa out with a back injury, David Arkin took first-team reps at center with Harland Gunn at second-team center and Pat McQuistan at third team. Over the last three days, McQuistan has seen work at offensive tackle, blocking tight end and now at center.
- During the morning walkthrough, QB Tony Romo and C David Arkin spent some extra time working on shotgun snaps, which have been one of the big issues of camp because of all the injuries at center.
- QB Tony Romo gave some fans high-fives along the fence line as he came out onto the field for the afternoon practice and stopped to sign a few autographs. That’s been rare for him this camp.
- WR Raymond Radway continues to fade. He struggled catching kickoff returns early and also had his problems during team drills. Radway appeared to run the wrong route – going long instead of breaking his route short – during team drills. QB Kyle Orton threw the pass underneath as Radway streaked down the field, allowing safety Danny McCray to make an easy interception. Later, Radway dropped a pass in team drills.
- WR Dez Bryant used a double move in 1-on-1 drills to beat CB Brandon Carr for a touchdown deep. Bryant then beat rookie CB Morris Claiborne for a catch along the left sideline. Bryant, however, missed the last half of the afternoon practice because of tightness in his hamstring.
- In 1-on-1 drills, WR Donovan Kemp dropped a pass on a slant route. WR Cole Beasley also had a drop along the right sideline. CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah intercepted a pass intended for WR David Little. WR Tim Benford had a drop after beating CB Mario Butler in coverage. WR Andre Holmes used three moves to finally get free from Owusu-Ansah and make a catch. CB C.J. Wilson dropped a pass intended for Beasley that he should have intercepted.
- Twice during 1-on-1 drills, speedy CB Teddy Williams ran step-for-step down the sideline with WR Kevin Ogletree and WR Raymond Radway. Tony Romo didn’t even attempt a pass with Williams blanketing Ogletree, and the pass to Radway was incomplete. Both times, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan yelled, “Nice coverage, Teddy.”
- In individual receiving drills and during team drills, RB Javarris Williams dropped passes in the flat.
- LT Tyron Smith had a false start during a hurry-up situation inside the red zone. The offensive line scrambled to get to the line of scrimmage in a hurry and before Tony Romo snapped the ball to spike it, Smith moved.
- CB Brandon Carr had a pass breakup in the end zone against WR Kevin Ogletree on a pass from Tony Romo.
- Safety Barry Church continued his strong play by breaking up a pass from Tony Romo intended for TE Jason Witten near the goal line. Church nearly intercepted the pass.
- Safety Gerald Sensabaugh broke up a pass in the end zone from Tony Romo and almost intercepted the ball.
- RB DeMarco Murray dropped a quick pass out to the left flat from Tony Romo.
- CB Orlando Scandrick had good coverage on WR Andrew Holmes on a deep past down the left sideline from Tony Romo. The ball was overthrown and Scandrick almost intercepted the pass, getting one hand on it.
- LB DeMarcus Ware would have sacked Tony Romo during team drills, flying past him before he threw the ball.
- WR Dwayne Harris dropped a pass to the left side from QB Kyle Orton. Safety Danny McCray was there with tight coverage.
- LB Bruce Carter broke up a pass over the middle from Tony Romo, but the ball hit both of his hands and he should have made the interception.
- On back-to-back plays during team drills, the secondary maintained tight coverage and QB Kyle Orton would have been sacked both times.
- CB Brandon Carr knocked down a quick pass out to the right side intended for WR Kevin Ogletree from QB Tony Romo in a hurry-up situation.
- The Cowboys’ first-team offense was finally able to score late in practice in a hurry-up situation, with QB Tony Romo connecting with TE Jason Witten for a short touchdown pass.
- WR Andre Holmes used his 6-4 height to pull down a Hail Mary pass to end team drills with a touchdown catch from QB Kyle Orton. Holmes jumped over a pack of players in the middle of the end zone to pull down the ball.
GETTING TO KNOW THE COWBOYS’ NO. 3 RECEIVER CANDIDATES: When Laurent Robinson (pictured) left Dallas for the East Coast, he took one of the feel-good stories of the Cowboys’ 2011 season with him. Robinson came out of nowhere to post career numbers with Dallas, filling a No. 3 receiver role that looked like a major weakness in preseason. But with Robinson gone, the Cowboys find themselves back in a familiar bind.
One of the most intriguing position competitions during off-season practices for the Cowboys was the battle for the No. 3 wide receiver spot.
After 13 off-season practices, there’s not a clear leader. And quite frankly, this isn’t like trying to pick a winner at a Miss Universe pageant.
However, Cowboys safety Barry Church – who spent snap after snap helping to defend Cowboys’ receivers during organized team activities and the three-day veteran minicamp – said one of the five candidates stood out among the rest: Andre Holmes.
"With him right now, he’s in the lead and that’s just going by my opinion," Church said. "I look forward to him having a great camp. Holmes has a tremendous upside. He’s fast, he’s big, he’s physical and he’ll go up and get the ball."
What’s clear about the competition among Kevin Ogletree, Holmes, Raymond Radway, Dwayne Harris and Danny Coale is that two of the five receivers likely won’t make the final 53-man roster.
That alone should make for fierce competition once full-squad practices begin July 30 in Oxnard, Calif.
Deciding which players stick around at the fourth and fifth receiver spots at the end of training camp could come down to who contributes more on special teams. That should help the cause of the versatile Coale, Dallas’ fifth-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech, and Harris, who contributed as a punt returner last season.
We all know Ogletree’s story. The Cowboys gave the third receiver job to him last year, and he couldn’t hang onto it as Laurent Robinson emerged to steal the show. All the talk around Valley Ranch has been about how good of an off-season Ogletree has had to put himself in position to win the job again out of training camp. Ogletree makes himself more valuable as a third receiver because he has the skills to play inside and outside. He’s also the only receiver among the five competing for the job who has caught an NFL pass.
But if Ogletree doesn’t emerge as the third receiver, the Cowboys will have to cut him loose because he doesn’t help them on special teams.
Holmes and Radway seem to have the most potential and could provide the most long-term impact. Both are undrafted out of small colleges (Holmes is from Division II Hillsdale and Radway was more of a track standout at Abilene Christian).
Holmes has added about 10 pounds to his slender 6-5 frame and was consistent catching the football in off-season practices. He’s not the fastest off the ball and getting into his breaks.
Radway had one of his worst days catching the football during one of the practices the media was allowed to observe. But for the most part, he was solid catching the football. Radway gets off the ball quickly and into his routes. He said he’s really studied Miles Austin over the last year, and Austin is quick off the snap.
Radway was so impressive in training camp last season that he put himself in position to make the final 53-man roster before breaking his leg in the final seconds of the last preseason game at Miami. The McKinney North product likely will need just as impressive of a training camp this August to make the final roster.
If no third receiver emerges, the Cowboys still could add a veteran during training camp.
"I think everyone feels like we should still keep our eyes open and I think we should, too, if there is someone who is obviously better than what we’ve got," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "But we’ve got some receivers out there who are doing a nice job. Each of them has their qualities."
Courtesy: BRANDON GEORGE | DMN
Here’s a look at the five most likely candidates in the Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver race, as well as a few pros and cons about each.
Danny Coale: Despite the fact that he fell down to the fifth round of last month’s draft, Coale became one of the most intriguing prospects the Cowboys picked for a lot of reasons. The Virginia Tech grad clocked a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and the fact that he was extremely productive at one of the top programs in college football (he finished his career second in Virginia Tech history in both receptions and receiving yards) gave fans hope that he could step in immediately and contribute to a Cowboys receiving corps that lacked depth.
Pros: Coale’s size isn’t necessarily a major attribute, but at 6-0, 200 pounds, he’s compact and quick enough to be able to play the slot while also big enough to pose some threat on the outside. Scouting reports suggest that he’s polished as a pass catcher and route runner for a rookie. Coale’s mental acuity shouldn’t come into question either. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 2010 and continued to work on a second undergraduate degree in marketing management, and he was the first Hokie to earn the James Tatum Award, given to the ACC’s top senior football student-athlete.
Cons: Coale couldn’t be considered the favorite to win the No. 3 gig, but he was at least in the race… until a broken foot forced him to undergo surgery and will likely keep him out for an extended period. The injury won’t necessarily eliminate Coale from contention, but he’ll lose precious time to familiarize himself with the Cowboys’ system while his competition only gains more experience. He’s also one of the smaller candidates, so his ability to fight off re-routes, especially from NFL linebackers, is a question. If Coale gets hot after his return, he could still snag the 3rd wideout job, but more likely he’ll make his impact on special teams as a rookie.
Dwayne Harris: A former high school quarterback, Harris made the shift to receiver at East Carolina and used his athleticism to earn some major recognition both as a wideout and return man in Conference USA. The Cowboys snatched him up in the 6th round of the 2011 draft, but Harris was released in October when the team needed extra OL depth. The Cowboys brought him back in December, and though he didn’t make a catch as a rookie, he did return 15 punts and seven kicks.
Pros: Officially listed at 5-10, Harris might be the least physically imposing player in the hunt for the No. 3 receiver spot, and his disappointing 40 time of 4.53 at the 2011 NFL Combine was a big reason he plummeted down draft boards. But Harris is a sturdy receiver, weighing in at more than 200 pounds, and his physical style combined with the elusiveness that makes him a strong return man would seem to play perfectly in the slot. Harris also possesses good field vision and has the ability to shake defenders, making him a good candidate to gain yards after the catch.
Cons: Harris’ lack of refinement as a receiver is easily his biggest question mark. He’s only been playing receiver for a few years, and he played exclusively in a spread offense against mid-level competition in college. There are concerns about Harris’ route-running. There are concerns about his hands. There are concerns about his concentration and, at times, his commitment. As much as anything, the fact that the Cowboys dropped Harris from an already thin receiver corps last year and willingly exposed Dez Bryant to more harm on punt return duty doesn’t ring out as a vote of confidence from the team.
Raymond Radway: The McKinney native signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent last year, making waves in the summer with blazing speed and diving catches. But Radway suffered a heartbreaking leg injury with just three seconds remaining in the team’s final preseason game, breaking his fibula and tibia. Radway seemed like an obvious choice to get the axe, but the Cowboys liked what they saw enough to keep him around. That in itself it a very strong sign.
Pros: The 6-3, 193-pound Radway possesses terrific height for a receiver, even if he is a tad on the thin side. But it’s that build that allows Radway to run like the wind. At Abilene Christian, he was a four-time NCAA Division II all-American selection in track and was the 2008 Division II outdoor champion in the 400 meters. His blazing speed was affirmed by the 4.32 40-time he posted at his pro day, and Radway claims that he’s been clocked as fast as 4.2 in the 40. Consider us skeptical on that one, but there’s no denying his track star speed.
Cons: The question with Radway is whether the flashes he shows in practice can manifest themselves on Sundays with any consistency. Radway showed solid hands during camp last off-season, but he’ll have to prove he can come up with tough catches in traffic and perfect in route running if he wants to win the No. 3 job. It also doesn’t help that he’s extremely inexperienced. Radway played one game at WR in high school, and he had to walk on to the Abilene Christian team as a junior after sitting football out for two years. During his two seasons at ACU, he caught 40 passes for 634 yards and seven touchdowns.
Andre Holmes: Holmes played his college ball at tiny Hillsdale College, which has an undergraduate enrollment of less than 1,500, so it’s no surprise that he didn’t have NFL teams knocking down his door to give him a roster spot as a rookie. He signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent, but joined the Cowboys after Minnesota cut him. He spent the entire year on the Cowboys’ practice squad. Holmes is raw, but he’s also garnered more hype than any of the other four candidates because of the unrivaled chest of tools that he possesses.
Pros: Holmes is huge — 6-5, 210 pounds — and though he’s not a burner, his 4.51 40 time and 35-inch vertical are still plenty impressive for a man of his stature. Holmes was ultra productive in college, setting the Hillsdale for career receiving yards, including 104 catches for more than 1,300 yards as a senior. He’s also been praised by the coaching staff for showing a strong work ethic and solid approach. SportsDay’s David Moore said he was the "most intriguing name" in the race for No. 3, and it’s not hard to see why — if everything clicks, Holmes would be an almost impossible cover for many corners.
Cons: As it is with most of the Cowboys’ No. 3 WR candidates, experience (or a lack thereof) is a major concern. He spent 2011 on the practice squad, so he’s yet to play a down in a regular season game, and the fact that he played his college ball against Division II competition doesn’t ease that worry. He’ll also have to show consistency with his route running and hands in practice. Inexperience certainly doesn’t rule Holmes out of this race — in fact, he could be the early favorite for the job — but he’ll have to prove that his physical gifts can translate on the field. And most importantly, he’ll have to develop a rapport with Tony Romo.
Kevin Ogletree: Olgetree slipped through the cracks and went undrafted in ’09, allowing the Cowboys to pick him up with the hope of developing him slowly. But Ogletree has shriveled, either due to injury or ineffectiveness, every time he’s been given a chance to shine. He hit free agency in the off-season, but the Cowboys ultimately opted to bring him back on a one-year deal after Jacksonville signed Laurent Robinson, who starred as the No. 3 wideout last year only after Olgetree couldn’t step up.
Pros: Ogletree lacks the freakish measurements of some of his competition, but he’s got solid size (6-1, 190 lbs.) and good quickness to make up for a lack of elite straight-line speed. And though critics will say he’s inexperienced, his 25 catches for 294 yards make him look like a seasoned pro compared to the four other candidates vying for the job, none of whom have made a catch in an NFL game. Right now, Olgetree’s experience (however limited) is his biggest advantage in this race.
Cons: Ironically, Olgetree’s biggest asset could also work to his disadvantage. It’s true that he’s the most experienced of the bunch, but he’s also the only one who has been given an opportunity and failed. Ogletree did little to inspire confidence in his game toward the beginning of last season, largely turning invisible when he was on the field, and there’s no denying that his physical skill set isn’t as intriguing as someone like Andre Holmes. You could still make the case that this is Olgetree’s race to lose, but his head start won’t be as big as it was last year.
WIDE RECEIVER ROSTER RACE: Dwayne Harris, better versed in playbook, expects tough competition in training camp
Dwayne "Hairy” Harris said he expects a tough competition for the receiver spots in training camp.
The second-year receiver, a sixth-round pick out of East Carolina a year ago, is in the running with Kevin Ogletree, Andre Holmes, Raymond Radway and Danny Coale, at a minimum, for the third, fourth and fifth receiver spots, if the Cowboys keep that many.
But the Cowboys will also have three undrafted rookies in camp, Donavon Kemp, Tim Benford and Saalim Hakim.
That’s a lot of competition for three spots behind Miles Austin and Diamond Dez Bryant.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said Thursday at Cowboys Stadium after the final minicamp practice of the offseason. “Everybody wants a roster spot. Everybody wants to show the coaches what they can do. I wouldn’t expect anybody to come out here and not give their all. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be fun.”
Harris allowed himself a bit of a smile at that thought. He’s already been through a training camp and won a job. He did it last year, making the team after averaging 23 yards on six catches in the preseason, including a 76-yard touchdown.
This year, he’ll have more of a head start, thanks to the OTAs and minicamp he didn’t have last year.
“Every day I got a little better, progressed every day,” he said. “My knowledge of the playbook got better every day. I think just the whole offseason helped out a lot. Last year, we didn’t have this much time to learn the playbook. It was harder for the rookies coming in. I think this year made it easier for everybody.”
Harris did not catch a pass in the regular season last year. He returned 15 punts and eight kickoffs. His 28.9 average on kickoff returns led the team.
IRVING, Texas — With no clear No. 3 receiver on the roster right now, it’s understandable that observers listed Dallas as a potential landing spot for five-year veteran Jacoby Jones after the Texans waived him Wednesday.
For now, the Cowboys seem to be taking a similar approach to last year, when Roy Williams’ release created an opening for the No. 3 spot: they want to see how their young receivers progress this offseason, but they won’t pass up a chance to add a veteran player if they believe it’s a good fit.
“For the most part, we’re patient right now. We feel comfortable," Stephen Jones said when asked about the depth behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. "We’re not against adding somebody, but we kind of want to see how these young guys do. And if they don’t do the work or if it doesn’t pan out or if we’re not pleased, player acquisition is 365 days a year. I say that; I believe it.
“You never know when something’s going to come up and you get an opportunity to get a Laurent Robinson or somebody like that. We have to keep our eyes peeled and if the right guy comes up and he’s better than what we have, we’ll make a move.”
Robinson was the among the team’s biggest surprises last season. Signed on two separate occasions in early September, he stuck on the roster and caught a team-high 11 touchdown passes. In March, the Cowboys chose not to match an offer from Jacksonville that will pay Robinson more than $6 million per season.
As for those young wideouts currently on the team, Jones said fourth-year veteran Kevin Ogletree "has a ton of talent" and could have a Robinson-like breakout season if he continues to work at it. He said Raymond Radway likely "would have been on the 53 (man roster)" last season if not for a season-ending leg injury in the preseason finale, and Andre Holmes is a guy “everybody’s looking forward to seeing” in the upcoming workouts.
JERRY JONES: Laurent Robinson’s roster spot is an opportunity for some of the younger players to fill
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Without the NFL’s salary cap sanctions coming down on the eve of free agency, the Cowboys would have had an extra $5 million to spend — possibly in an attempt to re-sign wide receiver Laurent Robinson.
But word around Valley Ranch before March 13 was Robinson had dropped a bit on their priority list, likely because there was a sense his market value would be too high. Indeed, Robinson got a $34 million offer from the Jaguars — and Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones conceded this week that they weren’t going to match it, no matter how much money they had available under the cap.
"I know Robinson was one we obviously wanted to have, but there was never a thought that if he had the opportunity to go to a team for starting receiver money, relative to his skill level, we never would have done it," Jones said. "It does not fit the profile you have to look at, which is not only this year but years to come."We said it umpteen times, if a team comes along and pays him as he’s a top two receiver, we’ll just move on. It’s a good opportunity for (Andre) Holmes, a good opportunity for some of the young guys we’ve got, (Dwayne) Harris and guys like that."
The Cowboys do have an opening at the third receiver spot. Don’t count practice squad member Teddy Williams on that list, though; head coach Jason Garrett said the former track star is heading back to corner when on-field workouts start.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Now that Laurent Robinson has taken his Cowboys-high 11 touchdown catches to Jacksonville, Jason Garrett is looking for one of his younger receivers to take his spot as the No. 3 receiver.
The team re-signed Kevin Ogletree to one-year deal and like the potential of second-year wideouts Andre Holmes and Dwayne Harris. Raymond Radway has been recovering from a serious leg injury suffered at the end of his rookie preseason.
In the meantime, Garrett said the Cowboys will comb through the latter stages of free agency and the draft for depth.
"Now there is that void again, a guy who wants to step up into that third receiver role," Garrett said. "We’re hopeful those young guys step into that role and grab it like Laurent did, but at the same time we’re always on the lookout to try to help our team with players from outside our organization."
When the Cowboys declined to tender receiver Kevin Ogletree a restricted free agent contract of $1.2 million on Tuesday, making him an unrestricted free agent, it was more about the money than an desire to get rid of him.
They always left open the possibility of him returning at the league minimum.
After Ogletree took a free-agent visit to the New York Giants on Wednesday, the Cowboys reeled him back in with a one-year deal for $700,000.
Ogletree, a New York native, announced the move on his twitter account: "Loyalty Over Royalty. I’m really excited about what’s in front of us #Cowboys".
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett hinted at the move on Thursday when said Ogletree was "still in the mix" when asked how team was going to address the third receiver spot after losing free agent Laurent Robinson to the Jaguars.
Ogletree is not the targeted answer at the position. He has largely been a disappointment since making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He has 25 career catches and no touchdowns and was beating out by Robinson last year for the third receiver spot.
The Cowboys will still look at receivers in free agency and the draft.
They also like the potential of some of the young receivers on the roster, including Andre Holmes, Raymond Radway and Dwayne Harris.
Ogletree gives them a veteran option who has played before in case one of the young players doesn’t develop.
Laurent Robinson turns his career year into $32.5 million with the Jaguars, to the surprise of no one
That didn’t take long. Two days into free agency, the Cowboys lost their leading touchdown receiver from last year, Laurent Robinson.
The sixth-year veteran signed a five-year deal worth $32.5 million with the Jacksonville Jaguars, making him a $6 million a year receiver, out of the Cowboys’ range for their third option. Except, Robinson also filled in as a superb No. 2 receiver when Miles Austin missed time. Robinson caught 11 touchdown passes, playing in 14 games after he was signed off the street in Week 2.
Now that the Cowboys determined they couldn’t afford Robinson after his career year, they’ll need to find another third option. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said at the NFL combine that the team is high on Andre Holmes, a practice squad player a year ago. Raymond Radway will also get a chance after a strong preseason last year, although it ended with him suffering a broken leg on the second-to-last play of the final preseason game.