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Mailbag: Why Hasn’t Harris Gotten More Offensive Snaps?

Posted Dec 27, 2012

GILBERTO MORALES
CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO

Where's Danny McCray? I didn't see him last game. Just in very few special teams plays.

Rowan: He’s still around, but mostly on special teams. He played all right at safety early on when he had to step in, but it seems like teams figured out how to exploit him in coverage some. The Redskins were no exception, as he was taken advantage of deep for a score. The reality is that opposite Gerald Sensabaugh, the Cowboys haven’t figured out a specific player they want to use every single week. McCray was supposed to be a special teams ace who could also help out where needed on defense and he became more involved with all the injuries. I’d assume his days on defense aren’t over, but the Cowboys tend to mix it up in the defensive backfield week to week.

Jonny: McCray has played a lot less on defense the past few games. Some think this is because he has been a liability at safety. The truth isn't quite that extreme. McCray has proven to be a pretty good run stopper, but his coverage skills are only average and Eric Frampton has stepped up and provided valuable snaps. Watching the DB's do catching drills in practice it looks like McCray is trying to tackle the ball. But another very significant reason his defensive stats are down is because of how valuable he is on special teams and the Cowboys take his role there very seriously. While he may not start on defense this Sunday, pay attention to the coin toss. You can still expect McCray to be there as a team captain.

GEORGE ANDERSON
PORTERVILLE, CA

Dwayne Harris always seems to make things happen when he has the ball and adds some excitement. Why isn’t he on the field for every offensive play?

Rowan: The same reason Cole Beasley only seems to be involved every other week and James Hanna and Kevin Ogletree get snaps sparingly. The Cowboys have a lot of options at third receiving threat, and they tend to go different directions every week. Harris will continue to get his opportunities, which I would imagine will only continue to increase, but they have other players who can be productive in that spot as well. They’ll ride the hot hand. Keep in mind the last time the Cowboys played the Redskins, Beasley had seven catches for 68 yards.

Jonny: Well, he's still not as good as Dez Bryant or Miles Austin, so it's unrealistic to think he will be out there every play. But you make a good point about his playmaking skills and it's fair to say that he is the best option as the third receiver. But Jason Garrett likes to try to take advantage of all of his weapons and while Kevin Ogletree may not be consistent, he can still make big plays as well. So that's why you might not see Harris out there in every passing situation.

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