Dallas Cowboys News: Injuries Giving Unproven Receivers a Chance to Prove Value
The Dallas Cowboys are limping their way through the preseason, and it has nothing to do with their 1-1 record after two games. The team is dealing with a rash of injuries, and wide receivers have been hit particularly hard.
Miles Austin has been absent from on-field activities for weeks now. News of a Dez Bryant injury surfaced on Monday, and tight end Jason Witten is also on the shelf with a spleen injury. Donavon Kemp, Andre Holmes and Saalim Hakim are also dealing with issues.
That doesn't leave a lot of depth at the position.
If this were the regular season it might be time to hit the panic button, but this is what the preseason is for. You work out the kinks in your everyday lineup.
ESPN Dallas reporter Todd Archer supplied a quote from head coach Jason Garrett on Wednesday:
"Injuries provide opportunity, and guys need to step up," Garrett said Monday, a refrain heard countless times during the Cowboys' California training camp.
A positive attitude never hurt anyone, and maybe the current injury situation is a blessing in disguise for the Cowboys coaches. Their top targets may be ailing, but this is a chance for young, unproven wideouts to prove their value to the team.
Without these injuries, someone like Cole Beasley may not have gotten the opportunities he's had so far. Beasley is only 5'8''. He wasn't known by many coming out of Southern Methodist, but he's led the team with seven catches and 104 yards this preseason.
Someone like second-year player Dwayne Harris fits this mold as well. He has five catches for 55 yards this preseason, and he's the only Dallas wide receiver to catch a touchdown pass.
From watching Dallas' preseason action thus far, one can see that Harris is impressive. Without the injuries he may not have been given the same opportunities.
The current injuries do nothing for Austin, Bryant and Witten. They don't help with continuity on offense, as all three of those players will start, but they do provide insurance down the line.
If one of these targets goes down when the game really matters, Dallas will be happy that the Nos. 5 and 6 guys on the depth chart have played. As Archer mentions, "it's better to get them the work now."
Playing now will have guys like Harris, Beasley and Holmes ready when the time really matters. Injuries are making this year's preseason process grueling for everyone associated with the Cowboys franchise, but it will make the team better—and deeper—in the long run.
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