Let’s warm things up on a bitter cold morning with some warm-‘n-fuzzies. As in, there were some positive surprises to the 2013 Cowboys’ season.
Monday I talked about how DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin were the biggest disappointments of the season, so today I’ll spotlight two players who exceeded expectations.
On offense, it was the rookie who everyone groaned about when the Cowboys drafted him last April - center Travis Frederick. Some folks, in fact, called him the worst pick of the entire draft. But just like that, he started from the first practice in training camp, eliminated the days of those alley-oop, off-target shotgun snaps to Tony Romo and helped the Cowboys significantly increase their running game with DeMarco Murray.
Seemingly a yawner on draft day, Frederick established himself as an anchor on the offensive line alongside Tyron Smith for years to come. He allowed a key sack by Dontari Poe in the loss to the Chiefs and committed a couple of penalties, but for the most part Frederick was solid on his way to spectacular.
On defense, the whipping boy became the playmaker.
In 2012 Orlando Scandrick was repeatedly beaten on key third downs to allow opposing offenses to extend drives, but this year he was the Cowboys’ best player. He stepped in for injured starter Morris Claiborne and ended up winning the job, got in Pierre Garcon’s shadow in Washington when Brandon Carr was getting torched and came up with several pass break-ups that kept Dallas in games.
Scandrick finally began earning his hefty contract extensions, while Frederick is just getting started proving his draft-day critics wrong.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.