Dallas Cowboys: Dezmon Briscoe

OXNARD, Calif. -- Every Wednesday we’ll be bringing you Five Wonders, with today being the official training camp debut of the award-winning fixture. And by award-winning I mean the gold star my children put on my computer a long time ago.

With no further ado, here we go:

* Jason Garrett likes to say his receivers need to run, run and then run some more. As a group they have to be in the best physical condition of any players on a team. But I wonder if the Cowboys should monitor how much work they give Miles Austin. He missed six games last year because of hamstring injuries to both legs, and the offense missed him. Given Dez Bryant’s issues, the Cowboys need Austin more than ever, so it might be wise to limit Austin some. It’s a balance Garrett has to find of getting players ready for a season while not taxing them so much that they become susceptible to injury. And while I wonder about this, I don’t believe the Cowboys are wondering about it at all.

* I wonder if this is the year defensive end Clifton Geathers gets into the mix. He has been with the Cowboys for parts of the last two seasons, playing in five games last season and garnering five tackles. At 6-foot-7, 325 pounds, he is definitely a candidate for the All-Airport team. He just looks like a player. And he’s also cheaper than Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears. Coleman has a $1.9 million salary. Spears is set to make $2 million. Geathers is set to make $540,000. You can’t discount the financials in these decisions. The Cowboys jettisoned their veteran offensive linemen last year and they chose not to sign Mat McBriar over $300,000. The Cowboys are getting younger and cheaper, and if Geathers can show he can handle more of a role he could slide two veterans out of the mix.

* Last year the Cowboys hit on several veteran free agent finds during the season, from Laurent Robinson to Tony Fiammetta to Montrae Holland to Sammy Morris. I don’t have to wonder too much if they have confidence in the pro scouting department to find help again in 2012. For all of the fans wanting the Cowboys to sign a veteran wide receiver like Plaxico Burress or at least Patrick Crayton, I’d say the team is being patient when it comes to the receiver group. And remember the money. Robinson signed for the minimum salary benefit last year before blowing up as the No. 3 receiver. The Cowboys didn’t look for a veteran last year at wide receiver, and their decisions to look into Josh Gordon and Dezmon Briscoe seems to indicate they will do the same this year.

* I wonder why there is not more concern over the foot injury of nose tackle Jay Ratliff. He was not able to take part in any on-field football work during the offseason because of plantar fasciitis and he can only go through the walkthrough practices early in camp. The Cowboys don’t want Ratliff to aggravate the injury in camp, but this is something that has been problematic for at least three months. While a difficult nose tackle to block because of how active he is, he needs his feet to help with leverage. Without leverage Ratliff is just another guy. And let’s not forget that his sack total has decreased in each of the last four seasons from 7.5 to six to 3.5 to two.

* I wonder if Saalim Hakim can get into this wide receiver mix. I cannot believe I typed that after the performance Hakim put forward in the rookie minicamp after the draft, because as a receiver he showed a remarkable ability to not catch the ball. But now Hakim, who is the younger brother of Az-Zahir Hakim, the former St. Louis wideout from the Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf days, is in much better shape and is catching the football. Hakim made his way on to the Cowboys’ radar with his work on special teams for Jim Fassel in the UFL. Hakim’s speed should make him a factor on special teams here, but he had an eye-popping run after catch on Monday that had one defender groan, "That (expletive) is fast." It was almost as if Hakim glided above the ground as he sped down the sideline.

Cowboys on lookout for receivers

July, 29, 2012
7/29/12
3:30
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OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys are not keeping their intentions at the wide receiver spot a secret as training camp begins.

They are looking for help.

They put a fourth-round bid in the supplemental draft on Baylor’s Josh Gordon two weeks ago, only to see him get picked by Cleveland in the second round. Last week they made a waiver claim on Dezmon Briscoe, a Cedar Hill grad, only to lose out to Washington in the process because the Redskins had a worse record in 2011.

“I think that’s more than anything youth,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “We have Miles (Austin) and Dez (Bryant) we’re counting on, then we’ve got a lot of unknowns after that. We know that. We’ve got young guys we think a lot of … I think that’s a place we’ll watch hard. We’ll watch the guys we have here. As Jason (Garrett) mentioned, player acquisition is a year-round deal.”

Kevin Ogletree is the only receiver on the current 90-man roster with a catch in a regular-season game. The Cowboys liked what they saw from youngsters Andre Holmes, Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley and Tim Benford in the offseason work but were unable to get a long look at fifth-round Danny Coale because of a stress fracture in his foot.

“Our goal is we’re going to feel better about the wide receiver corps after Miles and Dez when camp is over,” Jones said, “whether we do that with the guys on our roster or the way we did last year, picking up a guy like Laurent (Robinson) toward the end of camp. We feel like we can get that done.”

Believe it or not, WR is a priority

April, 1, 2010
4/01/10
10:56
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When it comes to roster moves involving wide receivers, Jerry Jones ought to be considered the opposite of E.F. Hutton.

When Jerry talks, don’t bother listening.

He’s fibbed – or maybe just changed his mind – too many times when talking about receivers. Recent examples include raving about the impact Terry Glenn would make before releasing him as training camp opened, shooting down Roy Williams trade rumors before pulling the trigger on the blockbuster deal and all but guaranteeing the return of T.O. before breaking up with him via tablecloth.

So when Jerry said the week after the season ended that he’d sleep well if the Cowboys didn’t draft a receiver, it was reasonable to believe that receiver ranked near the top of the team’s list of priorities.

Judging by the Valley Ranch visits, that certainly seems to be the case. Four of Scouts, Inc.’s top 10 receivers – Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant, Illinois’ Arrelious Benn, Ohio’s Taylor Price and LSU’s Brandon LaFell – were guests of the Cowboys this week. Two more in the top 15 – Kansas’ Dezmon Briscoe of Cedar Hill and SMU’s Emmanuel Sanders – are expected to contribute in Dallas Day at Valley Ranch next week.

And if Georgia Tech’s Demaryius Thomas is still available at No. 27, don’t be surprised if the Cowboys grab him.

This has nothing to do with Miles Austin’s status as a restricted free agent. The Cowboys plan to keep Austin for a long time. When was the last time Jerry failed to lock up a guy he was determined to keep in Dallas? The Austin deal will get done, whether it happens before the season or not.

Using a premier pick on a receiver is about providing Tony Romo with an array of weapons throughout his prime. It’s also about preparing for the departure of Roy Williams.

Jerry has publicly and repeatedly expressed confidence that Williams will morph into the star they thought they were getting from Detroit. Once again, believe anything Jerry says about receivers at your own risk.

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