For years, Jerry Jones has used the six months between the end of the Super Bowl and the start of training camp to pump up the Dallas Cowboys. He has assured that year’s version of America’s Team was going back to the promised land.
For years, Jones’ promise to the fan base has failed. So this spring, when fans heard about this great 6'5" receiver named Andre Holmes, it is understandable if they didn’t rush to the stadium to pick up their season tickets and Personal Seat Licenses.
Then the first two weeks of training camp, all the talk was about a shifty slot guy named Cole Beasley. He was a good receiver in June Jones’ pass-happy system at SMU. Beasley tore up OTAs and the first two weeks of practice, despite going home and quitting for two days.
With the Cowboys needing a third wide receiver, Holmes started to get overlooked and thought to be another guy who is all hype, no substance. A peculiar thing happened during the second and third quarter of the Cowboys’ first preseason game on Monday against the Raiders. Holmes made plays.
It started on a square in for 20 yards at the end of the first half. Then in the third quarter, Holmes made a catch on a third down comeback route to extend the drive, in which he extended his full frame to haul in the throw behind him.
What may have been his most impressive catch of the night, though, was a six-yard in route. Holmes had three players on his back after making the catch as they brought him to the ground. He used his big frame to secure the ball and not let it get knocked out. It was the final catch in Holmes’ performance of three catches for 40 yards.
Again, for years the Cowboys' scouting department has been regarded as fielding one of the most talented teams in the NFL. It has uncovered gems like Miles Austin, Tony Romo and Laurent Robinson. What has short circuited the Cowboys' chances has been a culture of entitlement that is out of the scouting department’s hands. That is on the owner and head coach.
Head coach Jason Garrett appears to be on his way to changing the culture, although it is important to remember it doesn’t get fixed overnight. Combine the culture change with the scouting guys’ ability to keep finding talent, and Holmes may have the continued opportunity to thrive like Austin, Robinson and other unearthed gems before them.