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7/30/2005

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"Stealth Corps"
by Howard Cox

Bring out the “Stealth” weapon of the Dallas Cowboys. No it isn’t Jason Witten, he came into the radar last season and everyone knows about him. Right beside him is the second year Running Back Julius Jones. The Offensive Line isn’t going to sneak up on anyone, especially with the signing of OG Marco Rivera. Then it must by QB Drew Bledsoe, or maybe even the other Drew (Henson) coming out from the sidelines. No they are not going to surprise anyone at this point either. By process of elimination that leaves the WR corps of the Dallas Cowboys. When you stop laughing we may continue.

No the team doesn’t possess a game breaker like Terrell Owens, Randy Moss or Marvin Harrison. But what Dallas does have is a solid set of pass receivers who can get the job done, each in their own way. Allow me to present my case before the “fans court”.

First up are the two starters in Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn. Both have been in the league for 10 seasons and know how to play the game. Terry Glenn returns from a severe foot injury and should be hungry to play for Parcells. He still possesses enough speed to be able to get behind the secondary, thus putting into motion the deep threat of the corps. Johnson is just the opposite; he isn’t going to run past anyone, unless they get lazy in coverage. What he brings to the table is his size and physical ability to catch the ball in traffic and move the chains. Thus set into motion is the need to move the chains. This is important since you don’t have to score every time the ball goes up, just move the ball another ten yards closer with three chances. The starting pair of receivers compliment each other perfectly with down the field presence and underneath ability at the same time. We won’t add the known Witten factor here, but just knowing it plays big into the defensive coordinators minds make it fun to mention anyway.

On to the next layer for those three and four receiver sets. Quincy Morgan strides into the mix as the third receiver for either the slot position or moving outside to allow match up problems with Johnson against a LB underneath. Fun thinking about that alone, but I digress. Morgan has a better knowledge of the offense for Dallas and gives them experience as the third receiver to make his mark. He isn’t going to put up stellar numbers, but then again he only has to catch a few not take over a game. Put another receiver into the huddle brings up either Patrick Crayton or Terrance Copper. Physically they are almost mirror images of each other. The edge goes to Crayton after he showed he can make pressure receptions (see game winning catch against Washington). Still young but able to contribute, they both give a good option to even going five wide at times to spread the field.

Now comes the less known players, Zuriel Smith returns for another shot at making the squad. He is known for kick returns but not for pass receptions. He has his work cut out for him. Also in that mold is Ahmad Merrit, a four-year vet from Chicago, who also primarily returned kicks and played on special teams. Both of these guys have experience over the others so they have the best shot at making the final 53 man roster, albeit a small one.

Tom Crowder (1 yr vet) and Rookies Jamaica Rector and Reggie Harrell need to hope for making a practice squad unless they shine in preseason.

I like the receiver corps make up that the team has going into the 2005 season. They don’t scare anyone and are not going to blow anyone away for sure. What they do possess is someone that can go deep coupled with a great possession/underneath receiver. Another veteran to add a third threat anywhere on the field and even a solid couple of fourth receivers. Everyone knows about the other facets of the Cowboys offense, just wait until the “stealth” receiver corps hits them.

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