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August 01, 2013

Longshot receiver Anthony Armstrong says if it's about more than just catches, he's got a chance with the Cowboys

Anthony Armstrong made another standout catch in practice this week in training camp.

But he’s hoping the Cowboys are counting more than catches when they make roster decisions.

“You don’t always have to have catches to have a good practice,” the veteran receiver said at training camp on Tuesday. “You can do what you’re supposed to do right, and they’re going to take that into consideration.”

Armstrong, a four-year veteran, is giving the Cowboys a few things to take into consideration. He went to the ground for a catch of a low back-shoulder throw, one of a handful of good catches he has made in practice with the second and third offenses.

In a camp where the receiving prospects are loaded – Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Terrance Williams, Dwayne Harris – he’s merely trying to keep up.

“I think what happens is you’re going to breed off of other people’s success,” he said. “You see Dez making big catches, you see Miles making plays, Terrance is a young guy making plays – it’s going to lift everybody else up. It happens on defense as well. You see DeMarcus Ware go and make a sack, the younger D-end thinks he can go and do the same thing. It’s going to make our team better.”

But Armstrong, who spent part of the year with the Cowboys last season before finishing in Miami, knows the numbers game that is the NFL. Despite starting 11 games for Washington as a rookie and catching 51 passes in two seasons there, the Redskins let him go.

“Half the time, it wasn’t anything that I did. It wasn’t anything about my ability. It wasn’t anything about me physically that made me get released from teams,” he said. “Lot of times, it just a numbers game. When you understand the business, you understand you have to have linebackers to cover the kickoffs more than they need receivers. You get caught up in it sometimes. You join a team late in the year, there’s really not much you can do.”

So he’s trying to stay versatile. Tuesday, he was on the “hands” team for onside kickoff recoveries.

“Oh yeah. Truly any team, I’m trying to jump on,” he said. “If you need me to hold for a kickoff or field goals, I can do that, too. I’ve done it before. A long time ago. But hey, if the situation happened to arise, I tell ’em I can do it.”

So Sunday’s Hall of Fame game is big for Armstrong, and the other down-the-line receivers who are trying to get noticed. But it won’t be all about catches. At least not in Armstrong’s mind.

“As long as at the end of the day, when the conversation comes up, they can say, ‘Armstrong was in it,’ that’s a plus,” he said.

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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