field is a different story.
But also, let's look at the role the Cowboys plan on giving Carpenter this year. He's the dime-backer, meaning his primary job will be to cover the middle of the field, stay with the running backs and tight ends, and occasionally blitz the quarterback. Sounds like that position requires some finesse.
I know what Jerry is saying. And no one wants to be called that. But the point is, for this role, he doesn't need to be Levon Kirkland. He's got to be able to move.
Now a lot of people have given up on Carpenter by now. Two seasons, little production, therefore it means he can't play, right?
The funny part to me is how expectations can really hurt a player.
Let's look at Austin. He got here the same time as Carpenter. One guy was a first-round pick, the other guy was a rookie free agent who we all thought his name was backwards.
Austin sneaks on to the 53-man roster and sits for a while before turning some heads on special teams as a rookie. Two years later, the Cowboys cut Terrell Owens with the HOPE that Austin can develop into a star. Right now, the Jets are planning to visit with Austin to see the very same thing.
Here's a third-year guy who has caught a whopping 18 passes in his career. But it sounds like $1.54 million won't be enough to keep him around next year. The Cowboys will likely pay Austin more next season. And the reason is because of that hope.
So it all comes down to expectations. Austin hasn't done anything either, but the fingers remain crossed. Carpenter also has a slow start to his career, but yet there's talk about him being traded all the time.
Call Carpenter a bust if you like. I'm not exactly defending him. I admit, by this point, I thought he'd be a fixture in the defense, if not a year ago.
But he's really never been given a chance. Sure, most of the coaching staff has changed. But the GM hasn't and the majority of the scouts haven't either. And if you're going to draft a guy in the first round, you should at least give him that opportunity to play.
If it doesn't work out, the Cowboys will be sick about the fact they wasted a first round pick on a guy that didn't pan out. But not as sick as they'll be if he turns into the player they envisioned all along - but he does it with another team.