- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Way out there in Oxnard, Calif., stretching the borders of the NFC East beyond geographical reason, the Dallas Cowboys are going through training camp and trying to identify a No. 3 wide receiver. As long as Miles Austin and Dez Bryant are healthy and on the field, the offense should work very well. But in case one of those guys gets hurt, and to make them more difficult to cover on obvious passing downs, the Cowboys would like to find a reliable No. 3 wideout. This forms the basis for today's "Hot Button" debate on ESPNDallas.com, with Calvin Watkins taking the position that there are enough good candidates currently on the roster and Tim MacMahon asserting that they need to add someone else to replace 2011 surprise star Laurent Robinson. Tim first:
The odds of them lucking into another waiver-wire pickup who produces 11 touchdowns, as Robinson did before jumping to Jacksonville for big money, are extremely slim. They're counting on Miles Austin and Dez Bryant to stay healthy and perform up to their Pro Bowl potential, which means they'll just need a third receiver who can be reliable and catch about 35 passes.
They don't need another Robinson. They just need an upgrade over the reserve receiver options on the roster right now.
Calvin points out that the veteran wideouts still on the market come with ample question marks -- the kind of which the Cowboys don't want to add to their locker room mix at this point -- and he believes the addition of wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson should help the team's ability to develop that reliable third wide receiver from among the current candidates:
Robinson has done wonders with young players in Green Bay and with theNew York Giants, so there's no reason to believe he can't do the same here. The Cowboys have two very good veteran quarterbacks in Tony Romo andKyle Orton, who will push the young receivers.
The Cowboys can't afford to keep asking veterans for help, time and time again. At some point you have to make sure your young players become something. Over the next month, the Cowboys need to discover this.
I'm with Calvin. Offensive line and safety are considerably bigger concerns right now than third wide receiver. Tight end Jason Witten can certainly pick up some of the Laurent Robinson slack, and I think Bryant's going to have a big year. I think Romo is capable of turning someone on the roster into this year's Robinson. At some point, they saw something in each of these young wide receivers they liked. At least one of them should be able to start showing it sooner rather than later.