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Ellis: Ready To See What Holmes Can Do

IRVING, Texas -Early this year, Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones started to really talk up Andre Holmes, a wide receiver none of us following the Cowboys have ever seen in NFL action - game, exhibition or even practice.

Undrafted, he signed with the Vikings last summer and was released on final cuts. The Cowboys placed him on the practice squad, and had called him up to the active roster by the end of the year, but he never dressed.

Come Wednesday, at the first Organized Team Activity (OTA) session open to the media, your eyes and ears at will get the first live look at this supposed secret weapon.

If the 6-5, 208-pound Holmes is about to somehow turn into Calvin Johnson, it should be pretty evident even in one practice. In these no-pads practices, it's very difficult to judge running backs, offensive linemen, defensive linemen and linebackers.

The battle between wide receivers and cornerbacks is something even the untrained eye can pick up on, however.

Holmes has some obvious physical advantages against all the Cowboys' corners, and basically every cover man in the league. If he really is what the Cowboys are touting him as, we should see him consistently winning against press coverage at the line, jumping over guys for passes and getting open deep.

The competition for the No. 3 wide receiver job has been one of the most talked about this offseason. The Cowboys really need a player to step up in place of Laurent Robinson, who departed via free agency.

Even before they knew whether they could afford to keep Robinson, the Cowboys were already pumping up Holmes.

"There's no way to put a team on the field and not play players who have never played before in the NFL," Jones said. "You're just more comfortable with a guy that you think knows what to do, even though you're sitting there with somebody that's making as good of plays or better plays than guys ahead of him every day in practice.

"Holmes has been impressive. Holmes impresses his teammates, he's got the work ethic, and so we've got some young receivers that we have got to figure in and should figure in as we look at what we're going to do with our whole receiving look."

The other young receivers we'll be looking for on Wednesday are Kevin Ogletree, who will apparently get the first shot at replacing Robinson, Dwayne Harris, last year's sixth-round pick, Raymond Radway, now recovered from a broken leg, and a handful of undrafted rookies. Danny Coale, the Cowboys' fifth-round pick from Virginia Tech, will miss the upcoming sessions and possibly a lot more with what appears to be a rather significant foot injury.

Those guys' chances have to be considered, but the Cowboys haven't gone to such great lengths pumping them up.

For that reason as much as the unknown with Holmes, he's the guy I'm most interested in seeing at practice on Wednesday.

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