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Roster Rundown: Armstrong Provides Rare Speed Element
(Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players’ impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2013 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features wide receiver Anthony Armstrong.)
Name: Anthony Armstrong
Position: Wide Receiver
Height/Weight: 5-11 / 179
Experience: 4 seasons
College: West Texas A&M
Key stat: All of Armstrong’s catches in 2012 – three of them – came with the Dolphins before he was released. In 2010, Armstrong led the NFL with a 19.8 yard average per catch with the Redskins.
Contract Status: Signed through 2013 after agreeing to one-year deal for this season.
How He Played In 2012: This won’t be a long, considering he was only active for one game with the Cowboys and only played some on special teams against the Steelers. Armstrong spent the first part of the season with Dolphins, catching three passes for 12 yards. He was released in midseason and that prompted a workout with the Cowboys. Armstrong has ties to the organization having played with the Cowboys-owned Dallas Desperados for two seasons in the Arena Football League. Armstrong played for then-head coach Will McClay, who is now one of the Cowboys’ top pro scouts. Armstrong spent about a month on the roster,
mostly inactive for the games, before he was released on Dec. 22 to make room for practice squad guard Ron Leary. The Cowboys quickly re-signed him after the season to have him in their offseason program this summer with a shot to earn a roster spot.
Where He Fits: Armstrong came in late last year and was trying to pick up the offense on the fly. Getting the chance to spend the offseason here should be a huge benefit to him. He’s played for the Redskins and Dolphins and has started 13 games in the league, which ranks third among current Cowboys receivers. He has experience and he has speed, probably more pure speed than any other receiver. But he’s got to be ability to utilize that speed to his advantage and show he can still be a big-play threat. Obviously the first two spots at receiver will be set with Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. After that, Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley look to have a solid role, too. And don’t rule out a rookie or two working into the mix. So it’ll be a tough hill to climb for Armstrong. He must differentiate himself with his speed.
Rowan Kavner: Anthony Armstrong was supposed to provide the Cowboys a deep threat to spread the field late in the year, particularly after Miles Austin’s hamstrings continued to give him problems. The Cowboys had seen the kind of deep threat ability Armstrong had during his time with the Redskins. The Dallas native was back home and had the straight-line speed no other Cowboys receiver possessed, but he rarely found the field, suiting up only for the
Steelers game and going without a target in Dallas. He can still be a special teams threat next season, but he’ll have to demonstrate strides as a receiver to compete for time with players like Dwayne Harris. A full offseason in Dallas should help him out.