Coach’s Corner: Derek Dooley on Cowboys Wide Receivers Corps
WR coach Derek Dooley reviews the offseason progress of the Cowboys’ receiving corps in our “5 Questions for Coach Dooley”.
At this point a year ago, your receiving corps wasn’t getting to work with QB Dak Prescott because he was buried at the #3 spot on the quarterback depth chart. How important has it been for your veteran wide receivers to have a full offseason of 1st-team practice reps with Dak?
DOOLEY: “We have to remind everyone that Dak is still young, he’s a second-year player. We take a lot for granted. It’s as if he wasn’t here last year, certainly not with Dez and Terrance and Jason. So there are a lot of little nuances that you continue to build and grow. You develop a little rapport with him and the receiving corps. It’s not something that can just happen in an offseason, it’s something that builds over time. So what we’ve got to do is take what we started and build it this summer together, then in training camp really fine-tune it. There’s a lot of growth from that standpoint.
How important was re-signing Terrance Williams in the offseason? When 2016 ended, most of us assumed he’d sign with another team in free agency. Now that he’s back for his 5th season in Dallas, is he at the point where you know what you’re going to get from him every year?
DOOLEY: I don’t think so. I think he can do a lot of things. One of the things that has hamstrung Terrance Williams is that he’s got a lot of good players around him, so everybody creates these roles. But we can continue to expand what he does from a route inventory standpoint, from where he plays. He probably would have double the production if we didn’t have Dez or Cole or Jason. So that’s a real tribute to Terrance’s commitment to the team. He embraces his role and does it to his best and takes advantage of his opportunities.
What is Williams’ greatest strength, the thing he can continue to build upon?
DOOLEY: One thing I know about Terrance from four years, he’s made big plays in big games on a real consistent basis. Every time we’re kind of struggling, he does it. He did it against Green Bay. That’s probably his best trait.
Another veteran free agent the Cowboys were able to retain this offseason is Brice Butler. Like Terrance Williams, many fans and media members thought he’s sign with another team. How has Butler looked this offseason, and could this be a breakout year for him?
DOOLEY: He had a very good offseason. I think he leaned-up a little bit. He probably felt a little better. We’ll see how we do in training camp.
Were there any newcomers that really stood out during minicamp and OTAs?
DOOLEY: Minicamp and OTAs are all foundation work. I don’t try to get too excited or too down on anybody this time of year. When you put shoulder pads on during training camp, it changes for a lot of guys. Some for the better, some not for the better. I’ve been real pleased with the whole group. They’ve met our expectations so far, but the next step is to put the pads on and see how they do. That starts at the end of July at Training Camp.