ESPN Dallas writer Calvin Watkins ran a three-part series called Old School 101, where retired Dallas Cowboys players talk about players on the current roster and the state of the Dallas Cowboys. Retired Dallas Cowboy greats talking about current Cowboys is an interesting concept, and the three former players are certainly in a position to provide expert perspective and insight.
In the series, Drew Pearson talked about Roy Williams, Nate Newton gave his opinion about Doug Free, and Cliff Harris talked about safeties and Alan Ball.
The first installment of Old School 101, in which former Dallas Cowboy Drew Pearson talked about current receiver Roy Williams is the commentary I find the most interesting, as I, like so many, had high hopes for Williams, and have been very disappointed in his performance as a Dallas Cowboy.
When asked what was wrong with Williams, Pearson’s answer was to say that he thinks Williams “plays too high,” meaning standing straight up, rather than playing lower by getting in a “deeper crouch.”
Pearson also said that he thought the reason Williams got very limited play in the Dallas Cowboys’ loss to the Vikings during the playoffs was because they “wanted to go to guys who had been producing…You can’t take a chance and go to Roy and hope he can come through.”
I absolutely agree with this statement. Roy Williams has had many chances, and still hasn’t lived up to his reputation. Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones has voiced his continued support, so it looks as if Roy will get yet another chance to prove himself worthy of what the Dallas Cowboys paid to get him. If he’s on the roster, we might as well use him, and having him come through big would be very welcome..
It will likely be his last chance, in view of his age, and the addition of first-round draft pick Dez Bryant.
In the second installment of Old School 101, former Dallas Cowboys left guard Nate Newton talked about Doug Free and his move to left tackle. Newton said “He’s not as strong as Flozell (Adams, who was released in April 2010)…but he’s much more athletic than Flozell. He’s got to use his athletic strengths when he’s developing his technique.”
Newton also said “you dealt with Flozell’s offsides here and maybe a wild penalty there…” As a Dallas Cowboys fan, I hope Alan Ball is a quick study and easily lives up to Flozell’s standard of play, while at the same time I hope he does not live up to Flozell’s standard in the penalty department.
The final Old School 101 installment featured Cliff Harris talking about the safety position, comparing it to being a fighter pilot, like his father was. “A free safety is making instant decisions with the enemy. Do I go up? Do I go down? Do I turn sideways?”
On Alan Ball, who may start as safety in place of Ken Hamlin, who was released in April 2010, Harris commented that Ball played cautiously when he saw him play. “You can play back and protect the deep pass and not get thrown on deep, but you might get somebody to run up on you because you’re so far back.”
Like a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans, I’m looking forward to the 2010 NFL season, and will be watching to see how these three players make their mark on the team.
ESPNDallas.com, Calvin Watkins, Old School 101
Drew Pearson on Roy Williams
Nate Newton on Doug Free
Cliff Harris on Alan Ball