To hear Ryan Switzer tell it, it doesn’t sound as though he believes that the Dallas Cowboys or the Oakland Raiders ever had a clear vision for how they wanted to use him. The only connection between the two destinations was the special teams coach, but the Raiders opted for veteran return man Dwayne Harris after trading for Switzer to be their returner in April.
After reading some comments about his time in Dallas, however, I decided to go back and look for what the second-year wide receiver had to say after he was traded from the Cowboys. I have heard that some took issue with his ‘attitude’—from the ever-reliable local sports talk show muppets—but Switzer feels he was miscast.
In his first meeting with reporters since the trade, Switzer said that he felt he was “one step closer to finding a place where I fit in and a place where they value me and where I can be myself”. After digging up his comments after the first trade, I think that comment makes even more sense.
“The more I think on it, I think that they had a different plan for me than what I was capable of doing”, he told 247Sports. “I had two or three rushes in the NFL before receptions and I was taking reps at running back at times. I don’t know if they were trying to use me as like a scat-back or what. There was a lot of talk about my high school days and being a RB and I don’t think I ever fit that mold as a change-of-pace back or someone with slide sweeps and carries”.
The Cowboys used Switzer very sparsely on the offensive side of the ball, and as he mentioned, his first few touches in that department actually came on gadget carries such as jet sweeps. It was not until late in the season, mostly in a meaningless preseason game, that he got some opportunities to contribute offensively.
If Switzer’s ‘attitude’ is a sense of confidence in his own abilities, then I’m going to be okay with that, because I can’t imagine what other issue Dallas fans might have had with him that I have seen. He said that he was the sort of player that showed up first and left the field last.
“I had great practices. When I got my opportunity at the end of the year against Philly, I produced”, he said. “I’m confident because I know what I bring to the table. I know how successful I can be in this league as the receiver”.
It doesn’t seem as though the Raiders ever had a real clear plan for Switzer either. Behind Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, and Martavis Bryant, they were not seeing where he would fit in. Once they decided to go with Harris—whom they signed before trading for Switzer—the writing was on the wall.
Perhaps now he’s finally on a team that has an idea of what to do with him.