Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Battles – Devin Street vs WR’s
Let’s set the stage. After being touted as a draft day steal in 2014 Street was active for all 16 games and tabbed two receptions for 18 yards and drew three critical pass interference penalties for first downs totaling five positive plays. Not quite the rookie impact Terrance Williams delivered for the ‘Boys in 2013 when he ponied up 44 receptions for 736 yards and 5 TD’s in only eight games. However the coaches look at Street as the best option if either Dez Bryant or Terrance Williams goes down, ergo he was active for every game and scuttlebutt at Valley Ranch has coaches gushing over his hands and work ethic from day one.
Regardless, five positive plays is alarming, until you consider he only had 150 snaps on the season. You realize Street is right in the ball park as fourth year vet Dwayne Harris got seven catches in his 160 snaps and drew no first down penalties. As Gavin Escobar can attest, you need opportunity to put up stats and that just hasn’t been there for Street. Is Devin looking at similar numbers in 2015? Maybe not as opportunity is knocking for the second year Special Teams contributor. Where would the snaps come from?
Cole Beasely has put up steady numbers for two years running with 39 catches for 368 yards and two touchdowns in 2013 and 37 catches for 420 yards and four touchdowns in 2014. Beasely works the slot almost exclusively and excels at the short game and (of late) slipping up the seams. This is not Dez, Terrance or Devin’s game. They are outside receivers who can play from the slot but don’t have the skill set to run the same patterns as effectively as Cole Beasely. That’s the long way round the barn of pointing out that Street won’t be stealing many stats from Beasely.
Dallas plays two tight ends more than they play four WR (go figure). The opportunity for Street to gain snaps comes from Terrance Williams whose numbers fell off in 2014 considerably. After posting an incredibly productive rookie stat line (see above) in 2014 Williams posted 37 receptions for 621 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s seven more catches, 155 more yards and three less touchdowns in twice as many games. OUCH!
When questioned mid-season as to why he wasn’t going to Williams as much Tony Romo responded “he’s not been open.”. I reviewed game stats from 2014 and found twelve games Terrance produced two catches or less! Williams wasn’t taking plays off, he was blocking well, he was not open. Dead legs? Working through the sophomore slump as other teams get enough film on him? Regardless of the reason Williams numbers were WAY down. Silver lining here is Terrance was an absolute stud in the playoffs finishing out the season on a strong note. He may have figured it out?
Coaches have been talking Street up this offseason. If you haven’t heard by now, Jason Garrett is all about competition and the Dallas staff has made it clear there is a competition at WR2 this year. Opportunity is knocking for Street in 2015. Question is will Devin open the door?
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over