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Roster Rundown: Harris Excels On All Special Teams Units

Posted Feb 17, 2014


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 2014 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris.

Name: Dwayne Harris
Position: Wide Receiver
Height/Weight: 5-10 / 207
Experience: 3 seasons
College: East Carolina

Key stat: Harris finished in the top three in the league in both punt return average (12.8 yards) and kick return average (30.6 yards).

Contract Status: Signed through 2014

2013 Impact: There are plenty of players on this Cowboys squad that get special attention for their ability but if you took a poll of the one player that might be the most valuable to the team in what he does on a weekly basis, Dwayne Harris would get a strong share of those votes. One of the most valuable lessons that I learned from Bill Parcells while he was coaching here, was when I take this player to the game, how many plays is he going to give me? Harris could have played for Parcells because he gives you plenty of plays in all areas of the game plus he is one of the toughest guys on the team. He is a tone setter. There are times where you can see the team feed off his toughness. Guys like Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams were more involved as blockers, I promise you from sitting in meetings and watching Harris do it. Despite his lack of height, he is a fearless football player. A stunt man that does the jobs that no one else wants to do. He serves as a point of attack blocker on running plays, flyer on the punt team and one of the best return men in the game. You can line him up inside or outside at receiver to get a quick catch. He has the ability to make the big play down the middle of the field, adjusting to the ball going away like he did against the Rams. He doesn’t get enough credit for his ability as a receiver and how he manages to work himself open.  Harris is the ultimate team player that always puts the team before himself in his willingness to play through injury and for that, he will always have my respect but more importantly the front office, coaches and teammates. He is a player you love to have on your squad and difficult to replace when he is not there.

Where He Fits: The question is where do you not play him? There are times where as a personnel man that you worry about putting too much on a player because the more he does, the more his game struggles. Dwayne Harris is just the opposite, the more you give him the better he plays. I do not expect these coaches to back off in how they use him. He is a load the wagon guy and as long as they can keep him healthy, he should play every opportunity that they can get him on the field. He is a great example how as a player you should approach your job and the impact that you can have on these games with your play.  He is going to play well wherever you play him which makes him a great fit in a lot of areas.


Writers' Analysis:

Rowan Kavner: It would be impossible right now to find a more well-rounded special teams player in the league than Dwayne Harris. As the team’s primary returner in both kicks and punts, Harris was a threat to take it back every time. He also would have finished as the team’s leading special teams tackler had he not missed three games. Instead, he finished just one behind Jeff Heath and still came in second on the team. The Cowboys almost lost three players in one when Harris is out. They don’t have another elite kick returner, they don’t have another explosive punt returner and they lost their top cover player. Harris’ versatility was on full display in 2013, as he demonstrated the many facets of the game he changes when he’s on the field. He also caught a game-winning touchdown pass against the Vikings. Harris battled a bevy of injuries throughout the season and he’ll have to try to stay healthier next year, because he’s a special teams game-changer the Cowboys can’t afford to be without.

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