OXNARD, Calif. – More than a week into training camp, let's dissect the wide receiver position with some of the good and bad that's transpired so far.
Key Battle … I came into camp feeling like that Andre Holmes was going to be the guy that was going to take this third receiver job and distance himself from the others like Kevin Ogletree, Raymond Radway, Dwayne Harris and Danny Coale. Each day a receiver has taken a turn at having productive practices but no one has stepped up to take a firm hold on this job. In my view Andre Holmes has been a real disappointment, not only because he failed the conditioning test but he hasn't done a good enough job of consistently catching the football when given the opportunity. Overall, it's a group that appears to have guys that could be possible four, five and six types of receivers but no real third at this moment. Unless someone develops some consistency in their play down after down, the club might have to look outside for that guy much like they did with Laurent Robinson.
So Far In Camp… Miles Austin and Dez Bryant are the starters and there is no question about that. Raymond Radway, Andre Holmes, Kevin Ogletree, and Dwayne Harris have been getting looks with the second group lining up at both X and Z with Harris and Ogletree getting slot work. In the third group, Cole Beasley is back in the mix after taking a day off from practice and by far looks the quickest and the most sure handed of the young receivers. Tim Benford has made strides and Saalim Hakim is now in much better shape but broke a bone in his left ring finger and will be out for a while. Donavon Kemp has run some good routes against off coverage and Danny Coale should be back in practice full time here soon.
Surprise Stud …. Since Cole Beasley has returned from his one day away from the club, he has been outstanding. His quickness and explosiveness off the line has been outstanding. In one on one drills against the defensive backs working on press coverage, Beasley was unstoppable. It didn't matter what cornerback or safety he faced, he managed to work himself free. He has a real feel for how to run routes and he knows how to make himself presentable for the ball from the quarterbacks. Jason Garrett spoke of putting things behind him of what happened when he left the squad and that is the right attitude to have. Cole Beasley has enough talent to make this team, he always had but what he needs to continue to focus on is all the positive things that he has done in OTAs, mini camps and now training camp.
Time To Pick It Up …. It's real simple to me, Kevin Ogletree does nothing for me as a receiver. You can try and tell me all the things that he can do but until I see it down after down, he is no good to me. I would much rather have one of these young kids that fight for the ball and potentially can play on special teams to help in the long run. If Ogletree makes this team, he is going to have to do it as the third guy but in my view that is a real uphill battle for him. Remember this is a guy that allowed a player last season to come off the street in Robinson and do everything as a receiver that he should have done.
Rookie Report ….I spoke earlier of Cole Beasley but I really do like another rookie, Tim Benford who first caught my eye during rookie camps has not looked out of place at all in this camp. He plays much faster than his 40 time and he is a focused route runner. He has really good size and is powerful enough to play against the press. He is really fearless with where he runs his routes and how he finishes them. Dependable and consistent hands. What I really like about his game is his ability to catch the ball in traffic with men on his back. Receivers don't always get clean looks and the ones that can make plays in traffic will always find a way to have a job.