Now, in the first two weeks of camp they are experiencing first-hand the perils of having to play with older receivers. Terrell Owens, 33, has missed time to rest a sore hamstring and because of back stiffness. Terry Glenn, 33, is out at least two weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to clean out loose cartilage in his right knee.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he understands the situation.
But he resisted the temptation to take a receiver high in the draft because the Cowboys have needs elsewhere and because he likes the potential of some of the young receivers on the roster, including Patrick Crayton, Sam Hurd and Miles Austin.
Jones said rather than worry about Owens and Glenn, who he fully believes will have dominant seasons for the Cowboys, he'd rather focus on the opportunities the younger players are getting to show their stuff.
That's what training camp is for, Jones said.
"I feel real good about what we've got coming at the young receivers," Jones said. "So good that I didn't feel compelled at all to take a receiver early in this past draft. And it was because of feeling good about these young guys, and I'd like to see them develop and see what we've got."
Said receivers coach Ray Sherman: "That's the only way to look at it. It's a good opportunity for them to get a lot work. It's a big plus for the young guys."
For Crayton, who will start in the preseason in place of Glenn, it's not only an opportunity to show what he can do now but also the future.
Crayton served as the team's third receiver the past two years. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and is looking for a starting job either with the Cowboys or somewhere else.
"Nobody wants to be a career No. 3 guy," Crayton said. "Right now that is what I am asked to do. This is a good opportunity to show the coaches what I can do. But no question, this is a big year for me. I want to make the most of it. I want to stay here but if it happens to be somewhere else, that's fine too. But my focus is working hard to help the Cowboys in 2007."
Hurd and Austin made the Cowboys last season after coming training camp unknown and undrafted out of Northern Illinois and Monmouth, respectively.
This year they want to prove they belong.
Concern at WR?
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