ARLINGTON -- The first two weeks of the Dallas Cowboys' training camp didn't tell Stephen McGee much about sixth-round pick Dwayne Harris.
Except that he knew the rookie receiver was having a tough time.
"He's a guy that I felt like has had a lot on his plate," McGee said. "Our offense isn't simple. With no OTAs (organized team activities), those young guys, their heads have been spinning."
But Thursday night, in the Cowboys' preseason opener, Harris and those young guys turned heads.
Harris caught two touchdown passes, undrafted Raymond Radway caught a touchdown pass, undrafted Tysson Poots converted a third down with a fingertip catch, and Jesse Holley had a catch in the Cowboys' 24-23 victory against the Denver Broncos.
Second-year tight end John Phillips had four catches, third-year receiver Kevin Ogletree had two catches, and fourth-year tight end Martin Rucker caught a 26-yard pass on fourth down and the 2-point conversion that gave the Cowboys the winning points.
But the rookie receivers -- Harris, Radway and Poots -- combined for seven catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns, impressing McGee as he led the game-winning drive. All three touchdowns came from McGee, including the 76-yard catch-and-run by Harris that put life into the Cowboys' offense in the fourth quarter.
"I'm not going to sit here and lie. Training camp has been frustrating," McGee said. "We have a lot of young guys. A lot of busted routes, a lot of missed hots, sights or whatever it may be. As an older guy, going into my third year now, you have to be patient. But then they come in the game today and they just did a great job making plays. They were on top of everything, for the most part. I think they only missed one tonight. So I was proud of them. They did a great job of stepping up when the lights come on."
Exactly, Harris said.
"I'm more a gamer than a practice player," the former East Carolina standout said. "In practice, it's more working on technique and seeing how the defense plays. Getting in games, it's much easier. I had a pretty good week in practice, just learning the system. I came out and played today. With all the mistakes I made in practice, I came out and played."
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Harris has shown playmaking skills in training camp. Along with inconsistency.
"He has a long way to go in terms of understanding how to be a receiver in the NFL and how to consistently get away from people, but I think you'll see he has a knack for playing," Garrett said. "That's what we saw on tape when he was coming out of school, and we saw some of that tonight."
Ogletree, who holds the No. 3 receiver job that Harris should be pushing for, was impressed, too. He remembers Harris from their college days, when Ogletree was at Virginia and Harris an all-purpose weapon at East Carolina.
"He's just growing up," Ogletree said. "He's blossoming as a young guy, just getting out there and competing. That's what he does. I remember that from back in the day, playing him at ECU, him lining up at quarterback, running back -- just making plays. He showed it."
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407