Jerry Jones: Jason Witten injury gives WRs chance to shine

OXNARD, Calif. -- Jerry Jones is searching for the silver lining in Jason Witten’s lacerated spleen.

For one, there are a few weeks to go before the Sept. 5 season opener against the New York Giants, although Jones didn’t want to speculate on his star tight end’s status for that game.

The way Jerry sees it, Witten’s injury provides a chance for the Cowboys’ receiver depth to shine during the preseason.


“You have to be able to adjust and hopefully have enough flexibility and have enough options offensively so that when you get players hurt, you’ve got to have other ways to run your offense,” said Jones, specifically mentioning that he looks forward to seeing the Cowboys work on multi-receiver packages. “And we do.”

That might come as news to the folks who have been monitoring the Cowboys’ quest to find a third receiver, particularly with Miles Austin nursing a sore hamstring. However, Jones singled out Kevin Ogletree and Andre Holmes as reserve receivers who have impressed him.

Some statistical perspective: Witten ranks second in franchise history with 696 catches and third with 7,909 receiving yards. The reserve receivers in camp have a grand total of 25 catches for 294 yards in their careers, all of which belong to Ogletree.

In an effort to put a positive spin on the situation, Jones also reflected on the occasions in recent Cowboys history when a playmaker burst through a window opened by another player’s injury. He mentioned the record-setting performances by Austin and DeMarco Murray in their first games with heavy workloads, as well as Laurent Robinson’s 11-touchdown campaign in his sole season with the Cowboys.

“That’s part of what happens,” Jones said. “That’s not what you want. You want to keep these guys healthy, but at this juncture with three weeks to go before we play a game, we get an opportunity to see some alternatives.”

Witten’s injury is the most serious, but he’s one of four offensive starters who will probably be sidelined for Saturday’s preseason game in San Diego. Austin, guard Nate Livings (hamstring) and center Phil Costa (back) are expected to miss their second preseason game.

Nevertheless, Jones isn’t sweating about his offense getting in sync in time to face the defending Super Bowl champions in the season opener.

“Not at all. Not on offense,” Jones said. “I’m more concerned about sync on defense. We’ve got a lot of options to go.”