Here’s who the Cowboys play in 2018 and where to watch them
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would love to have a No. 1 receiver.
He admitted as much after watching DeAndre Hopkins of Houston Texans torch the Dallas Cowboys for 151 yards on nine catches, including a clutch 49-yard catch and run that set up the game-winning field goal in the 19-16 loss in overtime.
But the Cowboys don’t have one of those after releasing a declining Dez Bryant in the offseason and failing to secure Sammy Watkins (Kansas City Chiefs) in free agency.
Bryant, the team’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions, has been active on Twitter saying he wants to come back to the Cowboys.
But Vice President Stephen Jones says the Cowboys have moved on. Bryant was with the Cowboys from 2010-2017 before being cut April 13.
“We just are so focused on the guys we have,” Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan on Monday. “Dez has done so much for us and made so many great plays and we think so much of him but we’re gonna focus on the guys that are here.”
The guys that are here have largely been a disappointment because of a lack of separation, an inability to consistently make contested catches, drops and a lack of chemistry with quarterback Dak Prescott.
Four of Prescott’s interceptions have come on tipped passes, including two in the loss to the Texans.
The Cowboys had six receivers active for Sunday’s game and they combined for six catches for 80 yards.
It’s been a season-long problem as Cole Beasley leads the team with 17 receptions for 193 yards. Free agent signed Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns have 11 catches for 102 yards and eight catches for 84 yards, respectively.
Rookie third-round pick Michael Gallup has six receptions for 82 yards and and veteran Tavon Austin has six receptions for 125 yards.
Terrance Williams is on injured reserve with two catches for 18 yards and Brice Butler has no catches on just two snaps all season.
Stephen Jones went on to say that there is nothing that the Cowboys can do about getting a No. 1 receiver now. He said they felt they move the ball with this group of receivers and still believe they can, if they can work on their execution.
Prescott was certainly undone by his receivers against the Texans. They couldn’t come up with key passes, including one that went through the hands of Austin for the first interception.
Thompson let a third-down completion go through his hands and also had a tip on the second interception. Gallup couldn’t come down with a reception on the sideline that would have been a first down and allowed two passes to get deflected because he didn’t fight hard enough for the ball.
“They’re called 50-50 balls,” coach Jason Garrett said. “And typically the best offenses are ones where you can make the plays on the 50-50 balls. They have good players. They’re going to compete for them too.
“You’re not going to make every one of them. But you need to start making something of those plays.”
Prescott’s pass to Austin that was intercepted was high but he got both hands on the ball.
“Yeah, you’d like to put that ball a little bit more on his cylinder,” Garrett said. “He had move a little bit to his left when he came back and made that throw, but unfortunately that ball was a little bit off him. Dak would tell you ‘I’ve got to put it on him a little bit more,’ Tavon would tell you ‘I’ve got to make that play.’ ”
Austin admitted after the game that it was a ball that should have been caught.
The ball to Thompson was a little inside but the receiver needed to play stronger and come back to the ball, per Garrett.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Garrett said. “All those contested plays amount to that, the location of the throw and the receiver coming back and competing more for it. Again, Deonte would be the first one to tell you that.”
Is there any confidence in the receivers being able to make the 50/50 catches and are they getting enough separation?
“Well, we haven’t been consistent enough at it, but we’ve demonstrated that we can do it,” Garrett said. We have to keep working at it. “
“There’s places to throw the football and we’ve completed those balls. Sometimes we haven’t completed them. Sometimes there hasn’t been enough separation. So you look at all those things. You look at why and you try to rectify it going forward.”
Garrett said the Cowboys plan on getting Butler more involved going forward.
Prescott said the time is now for him and the receivers to get on the same page because it is costing them games.
“You can’t sit around and bank on that in this league,” Prescott said. “When you do, you obviously lose games like we have so ... We’ve got to get it together and get it together fast and make sure our chemistry is where we need it to be heading into next week. Give ourselves a chance to win.”