To say the Dallas Cowboys have the injury bug is a drastic understatement, especially when referring to the wide receiver position. Dallas has been actively seeking its No. 3 receiver for the entire off-season and is still continuing that process now. However, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult as more and more of the Cowboys’ receivers are sidelined with some sort of injury.
Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who might as well be a receiver considering the numbers he records, is out until at least Week 1 of the regular season with a lacerated spleen. Dallas receiver Miles Austin has been out for weeks with yet another hamstring injury and will remain out, like Witten, until at least Sept. 5. Now the Cowboys’ other starting receiver, Dez Bryant, will miss the remainder of the preseason as well with patellar tendinitis.
Every member of the Dallas faithful is now quivering in his or her boots at the thought of Kevin Ogletree being the Cowboys’ No. 1 receiver against the New York Giants in the 2012 NFL kickoff game if Austin or Bryant suffer any setbacks. Considering the past two disappointing seasons and the injury history of the Cowboys’ receivers, that quivering is justified.
It’s times like these that Cowboys fans like Jered Hudson wonder aloud why in the world Cowboys owner Jerry Jones allowed Laurent Robinson and Jesse Holley to walk in free agency this off-season. Both players were superb last season in their limited time on the field, but neither free agent was offered a new contract in March.
In four starts last year, Robinson hauled in 54 catches for 858 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo targeted him in the red zone more times than any other Dallas receiver, so he was much more than just a fill-in when Austin and Bryant each missed time with injuries.
However, it seemed everyone forgot about all that after the season when Robinson was just “a No. 3 receiver,” despite the fact he clearly said he wanted to stay in Dallas. But everybody and their dog within Cowboys Nation said, “We can’t overpay for a No. 3 receiver, so let him walk.” Those words are now being wolfed down like buns and franks at a hotdog eating contest.
You see, Robinson wasn’t “just a No. 3 receiver.” He was the greatest insurance policy in the NFL and the Cowboys simply gave a half-hearted wave as he joined the Jacksonville Jaguars in March. His presence would quell the anxiety of Dallas fans everywhere right now with Austin, Bryant and Witten all sidelined with injuries.
Holley wasn’t given nearly the same amount of playing time as Robinson last year, but he made the most of it, hauling in clutch third-down passes in seemingly random moments throughout the season with the highlight being the game-winner against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2. He would have made the best No. 4 receiver in the NFL but Dallas just let him walk. Wish you had that one back now don’t you, Jerry?
Hindsight is 20-20, but this is ridiculous. Jones is making bonehead move after bonehead move when it comes to the offense this off-season. Did he think Austin and Bryant would suddenly become iron men and not get injured? Contrary to popular belief around Valley Ranch, it’s necessary to plan for the future and not just the present because at this point, the Cowboys might be planning an open tryout for receivers. Robinson and Holley should be getting a big kick out of this right about now.