Bubble Player: Top 5 Cowboys Who Need to Step Up
This is a make or break season for the Cowboys. There's a lot of chatter about the possibility of the Cowboys being the first team in NFL history to have a home field advantage in the Superbowl. A playoff win last season suggests that this team is maturing and has the pieces to make this dream become a reality.
But, there are some questionable positions that can sour this fantasy.
Lets take a look at The top five players on the bubble In Dallas.
5. Martellus Bennett
Bennett was supposed to be the Cowboys secret weapon last year, but he wasn't effective. He had 20 catches, four of them were touchdowns.
Bennett is known for his lagging work ethic. Guys like Michael Irvin would frown upon his lazy performance.
The biggest problem for Bennett is John Phillips. His short to medium range catching ability is something that arouses the Cowboys. Where Phillips really separates himself though is his blocking ability.
4. Marion Barber
I think that the hype surrounding Barber and the running back situation in Dallas is over hyped. Barber has taken a beating the past couple of years due to his running style. He is a closer, he's the Mariano Rivera of football. Give him the ball in the fourth quarter and let him destroy a tired defense.
I think the biggest concern for Barber is the emergence of Tashard Choice. There may not be enough balls to go around between Felix, Barber and Tashard; someone will likely be the odd man out.
By the way, all the suggestions of putting him at fullback make no sense to me. He doesn't fit the fullback profile. Just because he runs hard doesn't mean he can be a lead blocker and be exclusively utilized in short yardage situations. Barber can make plays outside the tackles.
3. Alan Ball
Ball hasn't been anointed the starting safety in Dallas yet, but he is the front runner.
The Cowboys are young at the free safety position. Ball hasn't seen the field that often, Michael Hamlin has only been active for six games, and AOA is a rookie coming from a D-2 school. Pat Watkins has gotten some starts on the strong side before, but maybe his experience can give him a chance.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Cowboys took a guy like OJ Atogwe. Atogwe can become a free-agent June 1st if he can't agree to a deal with the Rams. Rumor has it he won't accept their contract offer. Jerry wouldn't dish out the money for Antrel Rolle, so why would he give a bigger contract to a skilled guy like Atogwe?
But let the record show I would be thrilled if we got Atogwe!
2. Roy Williams
This is no surprise. Obviously we gave up too much to get this guy. We've been waiting for him to break out the last two seasons, but he hasn't.
Dez Bryant is a special player but I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't play up to the standard that fans are expecting. NFL history suggests that rookie receivers do not come in and make a huge impact right away. Players like Randy Moss, Percy Harvin, Terrell Owens, and Jerry Rice don't come around every year.
Maybe Dez will have an impact like these guys, he definitely has the talent. But the biggest impact he can have is lighting a fire under Roy and pinning him against the wall. That's when you see a players full potential, when they have everything to lose.
1. Doug Free
Doug Free has a lot to prove this season. The Cowboys didn't take a tackle early in the draft because they're high on this guy.
When a team cuts a six-time Pro Bowler, they better be sure they have someone who can carry the load.
The recent trade for Alex Barron won't have much of an affect on Free. Think of Barron as insurance to add some depth to the line and make sure Free and Colombo play hard.
Up For Debate