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Eatman: Can Waters Be More Glover, Less Vanderjagt?
When the Cowboys take the field Sunday in Kansas City, they should have a new right guard in Brian Waters, an 11-year veteran who is arguably one of the best to play his position in the last decade.
He’s got six Pro Bowls, including five in a 10-year run with the Chiefs. He hasn’t played since 2011, but it was another Pro Bowl season in New England.
So obviously, that’s the standard the Cowboys are hoping to get with Waters. And why wouldn’t they think that way?
Well, history suggests the Cowboys – just like all teams – haven’t always received the exact player they were expecting when it comes to these big-named, well-established veterans who are on the downside of their careers.
Scanning the last 10 years or so, it seemed to be about even in terms of players who have met expectations and those who haven’t.
For every La’Roi Glover, there’s a Mike Vanderjagt or Roy Williams who would show us why their previous team or teams were ready to part ways.
So it always comes down to expectations. Since 2003, here’s a list of five each who met expectations, failed to meet them or were about what we thought.
- Mike Vanderjagt – He had the highest kicking percentage in NFL history when he joined the Cowboys in 2006. He couldn’t even make it out of the season and had to be cut for Martin Gramatica.
- Roy Williams (WR) – The Cowboys traded three picks, including a first-rounder to Detroit for his services. He developed bad hands and never was a big difference-maker. The best thing he did was suffer a rib injury in Denver, opening the door for Miles Austin in Kansas City.
- Marcellus Wiley – It’s safe to say the Cowboys didn’t really get “Dat Dude” he had been in other places. He recorded just three sacks and 37 tackles in his only season in 2004.
- Bryant Westbrook – Remember him? The Texans do. The former fifth overall pick of the Lions, he tried to come back from an Achilles injury and was never the same. Got burned for a touchdown in the 2002 opener in Houston and was cut.
- Ryan Young – Bill Parcells thought he had something left when he signed him in 2003. He really didn’t and eventually was moved out of the lineup.
- Adam “Pacman” Jones – For all the trouble, he was a nonfactor in 2008, but he’s been able to keep it going and is a solid contributor with the Bengals.
- Marco Rivera – Getting hurt on the treadmill a few days after he signed didn’t help matters. He played some and played well, but he never met expectations.
- Peerless Price – He joined the team in 2005, three years removed from a 1,200-yard, 9-touchdown season in Buffalo. He had six catches in seven games and was cut before the season was finished.
- Kevin Hardy – A No. 2 overall pick of the Jags, he got to Dallas and had some production – 114 tackles and two sacks – but he wasn’t the difference-maker the Cowboys were hoping for.
- Eddie George – He’s on the list because he’s such a big name. He was at the end of his career and wasn’t really a Parcells guy. He filled in before Julius Jones took over.
Met or Exceeded Expectations:
- La’Roi Glover – Yes, his expectations were high, but he’s still the only player in Cowboys history to make the Pro Bowl in every year of his time with the club – four straight.
- Marc Colombo – A first-round pick on whom the Bears gave up, Colombo eventually started for five years and brought a much-needed attitude to the line.
- Brandon Carr – It’s still early, but what he’s done so far has been amazing. He’s not just a clutch playmaker, but also a leader in the locker room.
- Terrell Owens – Say what you want about his antics, but on the field, he was one of the better players the Cowboys have had in a three-year span. His production should never be questioned.
- Keith Brooking – He brought experience and leadership to the defense. Teaming up with Bradie James, they were a formidable duo on the playoff-winning team of 2009. But he didn’t have a lot left in the tank.
- Keyshawn Johnson – The Cowboys thought they would get a good receiver near the end of his career and that’s what he was. A Parcells-guy brought in to help the locker room, Keyshawn nearly had 1,000 yards before an ankle injury in the final game of 2004.
- Drew Bledsoe – The Cowboys needed some stability at quarterback after the Quincy/Chutch experience. He was good for Parcells, but his lack of mobility was evident, especially when Romo replaced him.
- Zach Thomas – While he wasn’t near the player he was in Miami, Thomas came in for one season in 2008 and recorded 177 tackles.
- Vinny Testaverde – Another Parcells guy who was needed more than they thought after the Quincy release. He wasn’t great, but considering the circumstances, he was a solid vet.
- Terry Glenn –If he could’ve put together another 1,000-yard season in 2007, he would’ve ranked in the Top 5 in Cowboys history in receiving yards. Instead, he hurt his knee in camp and never really played again. But he was a first-round pick with the Pats so expectations were high.