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13) Which Encore Of 2013 Will Be Hardest To Match?


When the Cowboys report to training camp on July 22 in Oxnard, Calif., several questions will still need to be answered.

The staff writers at – Rowan Kavner, David Helman, Nick Eatman and Bryan Broaddus – will attempt to answer these questions before the start of training camp. The questions will vary in importance, with the most pressing topics getting brought up in the days closest to camp. 

Today, the staff wonders which player coming off a superb 2013 season might have the toughest time duplicating this year.  

13) What player do you worry about following up from 2013?

Rowan Kavner*I was tempted to say a few others, but I keep coming back to the uncertainty surroundingGeorge Selvie*. He's the only player with a breakout 2013 season that doesn't have many guarantees around him. DeMarco Murray had his biggest year last year, and the Cowboys further stocked up an already improving offensive line. Terrance Williams will get the benefit of playing in a pass-heavy offense, and if Tony Romo can stay mobile after the back injury, he'll get a load of targets. So I look at Selvie, who had seven sacks last year after failing to record more than 1.5 sacks in a season from 2010-12, and I just wonder if he can keep up his ways in 2014 on a defensive line that'll continue to rotate players in and out.

David Helman: We talk a lot about the battle for the No. 3 receiver spot, with Cole Beasley and Devin Street being the main candidates for the honor. In doing so, we make a big supposition that Terrance Williamswill shine as the team's No. 2. Dez Bryant, the obvious No. 1 option, has earned that kind of respect – I'm not so sure about Williams. For all of his progress as a rookie, Williams still averaged fewer than three catches per game in 2013. He tallied just five more catches than Beasley on the year. He made huge plays against Denver, Philadelphia and Detroit, but he also disappeared plenty of times. After catching touchdowns in four-straight games from Week 5 to Week 8, he caught just one more touchdown the rest of the season. I'm not saying he won't build on his solid debut season, but I'd like to see it happen before anyone assigns him Pro Bowl status. [embedded_ad]

Nick Eatman: Maybe it's because I have flashbacks to Laurent Robinson, who came out of nowhere to get 11 touchdowns in one season and then went back to his old self, but I have the same suspicions about George Selvie. Here's a guy that hadn't done anything in the league, shows up to camp just to fill out the roster and ends up starting all season and leading all defensive ends in sacks. Now, Ware and Hatcher are gone and Spencer's status is iffy at best. Selvie is now the guy this team is leaning on the most – that is until DeMarcus Lawrence settles in as the starter. I think Selvie did a great job but I'm also big on factoring in production vs. expectations. When you expect him to get cut by the end of camp and he ends up leading the team in sacks, it's hard not to have your jaw hit the floor. But now that we're expecting a repeat, I think it might be hard to duplicate.

Bryan Broaddus: As good as I believe this offensive line has a chance to be in this coming season, the one thing that can set it back is if Doug Free plays poorly. Free knew that he played poorly for two seasons after being rock solid the ones before that. To his credit, he reduced his salary and decided to work on his technique to once again recapture that form that we had grown to expect from him. For Free his rise from the ashes started in the off-season program with his work as one of the overall leaders in the weight room then it carried into the OTAs and minicamps. Each practice in training camp, you could see the confidence grow and when he was able to handle the work against DeMarcus Ware and pre-season opponents, you knew he was back. As we work toward Oxnard, it has been so far so good for Doug Free and that doesn't need to change. 

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