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Jones: Harris Turned In MVP Performance On Special Teams
ARLINGTON, Texas – It was a game full of memorable moments, which makes Cowboys owner/general manager’s praise even more impressive.
It wasn’t Tony Romo, Brandon Carr or DeMarcus Ware that Jones singled out as he bathed in the afterglow of a 36-31 win against New York. Instead, it was the consistent contributions from wide receiver Dwayne Harris.
“From my standpoint, maybe in the top games that I’ve seen played because of what he did on special teams was No. 17, Harris. He was just outstanding,” Jones said. “They couldn’t seem to block him and he was in on not only the big play but he was in on the tackles early.”
It’s fitting praise for anyone who watched Harris put together an understated but impressive performance in the season opener. Harris was one of the first Cowboys defenders on the scene when Giants cornerback Trumaine McBride muffed a punt in the third quarter. That was a theme on the night, as Harris made three special teams tackles as one of the first players downfield on every kick.
“I would have to give him one of the top two or three players that we had tonight, just from looking at the game,” Jones said.
It’s hefty praise from the guy that signs his paycheck, but Harris was as understated after the game as his level of play during it.
“I just call it doing my job. My tackles were just a small piece of the puzzle,” he said. “I’m an athlete. Whatever they need me to do -- I run out on kicks, I return punts. I cover punts, I’m on kickoff return, I do receiver, I do everything. I’m an athlete, whatever they need me to do, I go out and do it the best I can.”
That’s a pretty fair assessment. In addition to his play as a tackler, Harris returned two punts for 19 yards, and he caught two passes for 12 yards – including one that set up a Jason Witten touchdown on the next play.
The timing couldn’t have been better for Harris, who lost his job as No. 3 receiver to rookie Terrance Williams during training camp. Williams made two catches for 32 yards, but he struggled overall with two drops and a miscommunication that led to an interception.
It seems early to say if Harris can earn himself more playing time with one nice night. But Jones certainly has a firm understanding of the value in keeping him around.
“If he had any criticism during training camp, it was that sometimes he was lackadaisical in his play, and sometimes he looked less than driven,” Jones said. “People that really know him and have a lot of confidence in him were quick to point out his skill and his ability to always seem to be involved in a big play.”
Jones said Harris looked plenty driven against the Giants. As far as votes of confidence go, it doesn’t get much better than that.