IRVING, Texas -- If Tony Romo has a favorite in the fight for the Cowboys’ third receiver role, the franchise quarterback certainly isn’t going to say so publicly during the spring.
“We want somebody to come in and grab that spot,” Romo said during the first week of organized team activities. “Guys have got to work their butt off. They’ve got to develop a rapport with me and they’ve got to know the offense. When they do that, they’ll have a great chance, because we’ve got some guys who have some ability in this room.”
Whoever wins the job will have big shoes to fill after Laurent Robinson parlayed a career year into a five-year, $32.5 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The combined career production of the Cowboys’ candidates for the job doesn’t come close to Robinson’s numbers from last season (54 catches for 858 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns).
In fact, Kevin Ogletree is the only receiver in the mix for the No. 3 role who has caught a pass in the NFL. Ogletree, who was handed the job last season and failed to hold on to it, has 25 catches for 294 yards and no touchdowns in three seasons.
Andre Holmes, the lanky undrafted receiver who starred for the Cowboys’ scout team as a rookie, is winning the hype battle so far. Jerry Jones pumped up Holmes as a potential replacement for Robinson before free agency opened, and Holmes was surrounded by reporters during the entire 45-minute media access period in the Valley Ranch locker room last week.
The other candidates include Raymond Radway, an undrafted former Abilene Christian track star who is returning from a broken leg suffered in the 2011 preseason finale; fifth-round pick Danny Coale, who is out until training camp with a broken foot; 2011 sixth-round pick Dwayne Harris, who bounced between the active roster and practice squad last season; and a handful of undrafted rookies.
It’s part of Romo’s job to help groom those inexperienced receivers, a responsibility he readily accepts.