Dantzler, Copeland Should be Cowboys

Two suprises sent shockwaves through Valley Ranch Sunday afternoon when the Cowboys announced the release of RB Woodrow Dantzler and WR Jeremaine Copeland. Both players had seen their stock rise dramatically over the last week of camp, but apparently it wasn't enough.

Jerry Jones made two mistakes on Sunday, and each one involved the release of a potential playmaker on offense.

Jeremaine Copeland, who suffered through a severe case of the drops during his first week of training camp in San Antonio, represented the perfect compliment to Joey Galloway, Antonio Bryant, and Ken-Yon Rambo.

Copeland would rebound to have one of the best camps of all the Cowboys' wide receivers. "All he does is catch the football," noted Dave Campo in a press conference just two weeks ago. "He'll catch anything thrown his way, and that's what we need on this team right now," added the Cowboys' head coach.

The last roster spot at wide receiver came down to Copeland and kick return specialist Reggie Swinton. It was believed for a time that the emergence of Woodrow Dantzler as a kick returner might allow the Cowboys to keep the 4th string running back instead of Swinton, which would also could have opened up a spot for Copeland, but it didn't work out.

"We know that we've cut some players who could be playing against us down the road," said owner Jerry Jones. "But we feel like we were able to get down to 53, but still have a young, talented football team."

Offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet campaigned hard for Copeland's services this weekend, but in the end, it came down to a decision that would be made by Dave Campo and Jerry Jones. Neither one thought highly enough of the former Tennessee Volunteer to give him a spot on the 53-man roster.

Dantzler on the other hand, was viewed favorably by almost everyone in the organization. And why not? He provided some much needed fireworks towards the end of preseason, scoring on a 97-yard kickoff return, throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass, and running two more returns back for 34 and 57 yards respectively in the last game against Jacksonville.

More importantly, most experts felt as though Dantzler had the potential to have more playmaking ability than 3rd down back Michael Wiley. "Potential" being the key word in that sentence.

Dantzler failed to make the grade as a true running back, and often times looked uncomfortable taking hand offs. Interestingly enough, the Cowboys are still interested in the former Clemson star, and he'll likely be assigned to the practice squad early this week.

"We liked what Woody gave us," said Campo. "He made some plays for us, but he was not able to do enough from an every-down player situation to make the roster. He's a player who can get stronger and turn into a good player in this league."

While the release of these two players is merely a side note to most major media outlets; both Copeland and Dantzler are playmakers, and if they aren't signed to the practice squad they'll likely catch on with another team rather quickly.

Make no mistake about it, the Cowboys have made the right decision in almost every single transaction this offseason, but the release of these two players has to be considered questionable.

Dantzler proved time and time again this preseason that his game is tailored to the NFL, even if only as a kick returner; and Copeland could have given the Cowboys another wide receiver who isn't just considered a speedster.

In a year where the Cowboys will need all the help they can get offensively, the release of Dantzler and Copeland just gives Dallas two less weapons to work with. Sure, there will always be questions in regards to any player movment these days, but when dealing with these two football players, nothing but positive feelings seemed to follow them around.

When given the chance, both Dantzler and Copeland proved their worth on the football field. Copeland had his best game in the preseason finale when he led the team in receiving (4 receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown), and Dantzler dominated on special teams in his final three games as a Cowboy.

Evidently, the Cowboys organization saw these two players in a different light, but don't be surprised to see either one wearing the silve star sometime in the near future.

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