Today Dallas Cowboys WR Dwayne Harris was named the NFL special teams player of the week. His performance on special teams really stood out to me in the Giants win Sunday night. We already knew Harris could return punts. He showed that last season with a 78 yard TD return to help defeat the Eagles. And in the Giants game, he did a good job handling punts including a 14 yard return.
But Harris gave Dallas much more than just a secure option at handling punts, he also covered punts making two tackles. Each punt he was clearly the first guy down the field as the Giants were unable to block him. He also made a tackle on a kickoff return and on the fumble, he slapped the ball where his teammate Holloman, could recover it.
But Why Wasn’t Harris the 3rd WR?
I have to say I was surprised and even disappointed when Dallas went with rookie Terrance Williams as the 3rd WR. It’s nothing against Williams the talented rookie WR from Baylor. I believe he will develop into a good NFL receiver in the future but he demonstrated in camp and preseason, that he wasn’t quite ready to go yet.
In the Giants game, Williams and Romo were clearly not on the same page when Romo threw an interception that if not for the outstanding hustle of Murray, would have resulted in a TD. The Giants ended up settling for a FG but that’s the kind of miscommunication that can lead to a turnover that ends up costing you the game. They dodged a bullet this time.
There were signs of trouble in the preseason in one game when Romo way over threw a wide open Williams. Later Romo indicated Williams was on the wrong route although with all due respect Romo, the dude was wide open on the sideline for what should have been a TD.
In the Giants game, Williams also had a dropped pass which happened frequently in preseason camp. I had pointed out back in April after analyzing video from his play at Baylor, Williams has a tendency to try to make catches close to his body instead of hands which leads to drops. HERE Again, he needs some development.
Dwayne Won the 3rd WR spot Last season:
Last year Harris was in a battle for the 3rd WR spot with Kevin Ogletree (now with the Bucs) and at the end of the 2012 preseason here at ‘DC Dishing the Real’, I said Dwayne Harris won that competition. HERE However the Cowboy coaches went with Ogletree. But as the season progressed, Harris was more productive and eventually became the 3rd WR. In limited action, he finished 2012 with 17 catches and 222 yards. It surprised me when Dallas drafted a WR. Thought they could have used a guard more. Looks like I may have been right about that too.
This season Harris finds himself dissed once more and only had four offensive plays in the Giants game which included an important 12 yard catch down to the 4 yard line setting up a TD pass to Witten. But did Harris sulk? Not at all, he went out and showed that no matter what you ask him to do, he does it well and with a lot of effort even if it’s covering punts.
Dwayne Harris runs in a very physical manner after the catch and I don’t get the impression that opposing defenders like getting in his way. Kind of like Marion “Barbarian” Barber except faster. Dallas could certainly use that ability to run after the catch on offense. And the rookie Williams could use a few more practices to get on the same page with Romo.
So today the NFL showed Harris some respect with special teams recognition but Harris finds himself in a position to prove himself as a WR once again and I got a feeling he is going to do it. Eventually these coaches will have to give him the respect he has earned.