The Dallas Cowboys finally cut long-time fan favorite, Rico Gathers, now begging the question as to who the next ‘pet cat’ of Cowboys Nation will be…
The Dallas Cowboys cut Rico Gathers yesterday and to be frank, it was time. Rico had a lot going for him when the Cowboys got him. He had athleticism, size, and just enough flash to keep him around. Fans fell in love with the idea of Rico, sadly, Rico never put the work in. So who will be the next Rico?
Well the obvious choices are Tony Pollard, Mike Weber, Michael Jackson, and Chris Westry. However, the real answer seems to be Jon’vea Johnson. Fans have latched onto Johnson for various reasons. No matter what the reasons are, we will get into them shortly, Johnson seems to be the guy. Can he be that “pet cat”? Well, time will tell.
What fans seem to love about Johnson first and foremost is his speed. His 40 time was a 4.40 flat (although some reports say 4.38), something many feel has been missing from the Cowboys roster. His size isn’t ideal, but it isn’t bad at 6’0 188 pounds. He has agility to match his speed with a 6.68 three cone. This time would have made him the fastest in the drill at the combine this year.
Sanjay Lal has said he is impressed with how far Johnson has come. In minicamp and in the first week of training camp, Johnson was turning the heads of analysts, media members, coaches, and fans. He looked to be climbing the depth chart. So much so the unofficial depth chart has him listed behind Amari Cooper at the X.
Then the Blue/White game happened, and there was a pause. Johnson dropped a few easy catches and everyone was asking what was going on. Those who followed the draft coverage closely know that this was the major knock on Johnson. He has some issues with drops and a lot seems to be about his focus. Add in he tends to body catch, and he has some work ahead of him.
While he has speed, and agility, his tape shows a problem with getting separation, footwork, and route running. All of those things are fixable, if he puts the work in. The focus and drops could be a long term issue. But, with work, they can be fixed.
More from Dallas Cowboys
- Dallas Cowboys Linebackers: 2023 Position Overview
- Ballhawk University: Why the Cowboys will be takeaway leaders
- Dallas Cowboys Player to Watch: Sleeper TE John Stephens, Jr.
- Dallas Cowboys: The impact of Micah Parsons and a well-rounded secondary
- Dallas Cowboys still unsure about their left guard position for 2023
This all makes Johnson the new Rico. A fan favorite with all the tools to be a steal, but needs work and time to see if his potential will manifest. It seems right now, that Johnson will either make the roster or at least make the practice squad. His speed and what he showed early are too hard to pass on right now.
What Johnson will need to do is show up during preseason games. He can’t afford the drops as there is some serious competition for wide receiver depth. Maybe the Blue/White game was a blip, or maybe it is a sign of things to come. He certainly has shown to have more interest and a better work ethic than Rico did.
With preseason game one on the horizon, I am sure you will hear a lot more about Johnson. Eyes will be on him to perform. While there will be many who will simply look at his speed as the reason to keep him, you can almost always find fast guys every year. What you can’t find is speed, development, and a player who gets better quickly.
So Jon’vea Johnson for now is the new Rico Gathers. There is a lot of hope he doesn’t turn out like Gathers. The want from fans is there, he just has to put it all together and he could be a success story.
- Published on 08/06/2019 at 16:01 PM
- Last updated at 08/06/2019 at 14:58 PM