The knock on the Cowboys’ young backup receivers going into Saturday’s game with the Rams was no one had separated themselves from the pack.
Second-year WR Dwayne Harris did his best to change that perception, catching three passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Harris caught a 61-yard bomb from Tony Romo for the first touchdown of the game. He then caught what appeared to be routine crossing route later in the first quarter and then broke two sideline tackles en route to a 38-yard score.
“I think it was a pretty good game for myself,” Harris said. “It feels great to catch a touchdown from Tony. He does such a great job of creating things and keeping it alive. So if you just keep running, he’ll find you.”
Harris is one of the backup receivers vying for spots behind starters Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. Although Kevin Ogletree had another big game with five catches for 75 yards, and Cole Beasley had three grabs for 40 yards, Harris was the main standout, although it’s not that surprising to his quarterback.
“Dwayne did a nice job again,” Romo said. “For him, it’s never been about the big things. It’s just about the little things with Dwayne. If he can get those things down, he’s got a chance to really help this team.”
Claiborne saves touchdown: The first-team defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the first three preseason games but that was in jeopardy at the end of the second quarter. But on a fourth-and-goal play, rookie CB Morris Claiborne batted down a pass in the end zone to save a score. His batted pass did lead to an injury for S Danny McCray, who collided with fellow S Gerald Sensabaugh. Claiborne did allow a catch on the first play of the game, but settled into his own as the half went on.
“I’ve still got some learning to do,” Claiborne said. “But I’m just happy to get in the flow and get a couple of games under my belt. I feel like I get better each time I’m out there.”
Double setback at safety: Although Mana Silva finished the season on the active roster last year, he was considered a long shot to make the squad. That has likely changed again, and we could see Silva back on the team after two of injuries at safety.
Most notable, rookie Matt Johnson can’t seem to get healthy. After missing all of camp with a left hamstring injury, Johnson played a few snaps Saturday and suffered a right hamstring strain.
“They say everything happens for a reason but right now I don’t understand,” said Johnson, who also missed all of the offseason because classes at his college Eastern Washington didn’t conclude until late June. “It’s just very frustrating right now. I’m not sure how bad it is.”
McCray had to leave the game in the second quarter with a neck injury that occurred when he collided with Sensabaugh. He said he will be fine and return to practice next week, but the Cowboys will likely be cautious with McCray, the team’s best special teams player.