When Dez Bryant went down with a high ankle sprain late last week, the Cowboys were naturally worried about the consequences of losing their number one pick in the draft for the entire preseason. What was a bad situation has been lightened a little bit with the surprise play of some of the other young receivers in camp so far.
Two receivers seem to be taking advantage of Bryant’s absence and stepped up a lot. Kevin Ogletree has been working really hard and has reminded the coaching staff of what they saw in him last year. He broke off a beauty of a touchdown catch against the number one defence on Saturday and has continued to play very well. He will be difficult to keep off the roster.
The biggest surprise so far for the receivers has to be Manny Johnson. Johnson, a seventh round pick out of Oklahoma in last year’s draft, spent all of last season on the practice squad. Over the summer he dropped some weight and worked extensively with Dallas’ strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek. Johnson is leaner and quicker at this year’s camp. He has made some great plays and has got the attention of offensive co-ordinator Jason Garrett:
“”He’s made a number of plays. He really has, and really it’s what he did in college when he got a chance to play. Again, a very productive guy. Maybe not always the flashiest guy, but finds himself getting open and then making competitive catches.”
Praise like this will go a long ways in helping Johnson secure a roster spot in a very crowded receiver position. One thing is for sure, both Johnson and Ogletree will be looking to strut their stuff this Sunday against Cincinnati when Dallas plays them in the “Hall of Fame Game”.