The battle to claim the No. 3 receiver spot with the Dallas Cowboys begins in earnest Monday night against the Oakland Raiders. Receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said performances in pre-season games will provide the tiebreaker in a race where fourth-year pro Kevin Ogletree has a “slight” edge over the competition heading into pre-season games.
The situation is fluid enough that Robinson admits he is not confident that the eventual answer is on the current roster.
“I don’t know if ‘confident’ is the right word. I’m hopeful,” Robinson said. “This pre-season is going to tell the tale on that … I think we’re moving in the right direction. But we’re nowhere close to where we need to be yet to be a championship football team.”
Among the challengers, rookie fifth-round pick Danny Coale (foot) is not expected to play against the Raiders. The rest should see action.
Robinson offered the following assessments about the leading candidates in the race to be the Cowboys’ third receiver, behind starters Miles Austin and Dez Bryant.
Andre Holmes: “He didn’t pass the conditioning test initially. But he has picked it up lately. The last couple of days, he’s starting to get the hang of it. He’s starting to make some plays. He’s starting to play a little more consistently. Hopefully, the upward trend continues for him.”
Tim Benford: “I think he’s had a solid camp. I really like Tim. He’s an extremely competitive guy. He has good football instincts. He has a knack for getting away from people. He’s aggressive to the ball. I like how he plays. He’s got a lot of toughness. He’s done a solid job so far.”
Danny Coale: “He is making progress. I don’t think he’s really all the way back in terms of throw caution to the wind and play at 100 mph. But he’s looked good at times. At times, it looks like it may affect him some. I think he’s going to be fine but it’s just going to take a little bit of time.”
Cole Beasley: “He’s done a good job. He’s stepped in there and made plays most of the time when he’s had an opportunity. He’s smart. He knows what he’s doing. He’s got a knack for getting away from people. I’m anxious to see what it’s like when it’s out there for real.”
Kevin Ogletree: “Kevin’s playing more consistently. He’s catching he ball more consistently. I think he had a good off-season. He’s playing a little more confidently. We’re looking for big things out of him, starting on Monday night.”
Raymond Radway: “Rad’s been a little up and down. He’s made some plays occasionally. He hasn’t had a ton of opportunities. He’s one of those guys coming off a really horrific injury. He’s worked really hard to get to where he is at this point. I’m not sure he’s all the way back but he’s as tough as they come. He needs to develop a consistency that he hasn’t had in the past.”
Dwayne Harris: “He’s done some really, really good things. And he’s done some things that he needs to improve in terms of assignments. He’s not always perfect that way. I like Dwayne. He has a lot of toughness. He catches the ball extremely well. He catches the ball in traffic.”
_ Jimmy Burch