Any hope Blake Jarwin or Dalton Schultz had at possibly becoming the Dallas Cowboys starting tight end in 2019 has all but gone out the window now that Jason Witten is back in uniform. That doesn't mean either player can't become the starting tight end in the future, but as far as this season is concerned they're probably competing with each other to become Witten's primary backup.
Jason Witten didn't come out of retirement to sit and watch from the sideline. He's expecting to handle the majority of the workload this year, meaning Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz is left fighting for whatever scraps are left on the bone. The Cowboys have hinted Witten could be on a snap count, but that remains to be seen.
With all of that in mind, I thought it would be a good time to go ahead and examine who is better suited to be the Dallas Cowboys TE2 behind No. 82 in 2019, Blake Jarwin or Dalton Schultz?
A Case for Blake Jarwin
Blake Jarwin seems to be the unanimous favorite around Cowboys Nation to take yet another step in his development and quite possibly challenge Jason Witten for more playing time. At 6'5", 260 (according to Dallascowboys.com), Jarwin has the size required to handle the everyday responsibilities as a starter. Unfortunately, we've only seen flashes of his talent. It has been enough though for a lot of us to become even more intrigued with what you can do in the future.
There is one thing Jarwin has going for him than any of the other TEs on the Cowboys roster. He is arguably the most athletic of the group, making him more of a mismatch player in the passing game then Dalton Schultz or Jason Witten for that matter. We've only seen his athleticism on display in short spurts, but if he can become much more consistent he has a chance of becoming "the guy".
This will be Jarwin's third year in the NFL, which is usually the crucial "prove it" season for a lot of young players. To date, he has only 27 catches for 307 receiving yards and three touchdowns so far in his career, and most of those came against the New York Giants in 2018 (7 catches, 119 yards, 3 TDs). He's also caught 75% of the passes thrown his way. The only thing he really needs to do now is put it all together.
A Case for Dalton Schultz
I don't know about you, but I think everybody could be sleeping on Dalton Schultz a little bit right now as far as where he falls in the pecking order on the tight end depth chart. He is a Stanford product, a school known to produce starting caliber TEs. If you don't believe me, just take a look around the NFL to see just how many TEs the Ivy League school has produced. I can think of about six off the top of my head.
I may be wrong, but I believe Dalton Schultz may be more in line with what the Dallas Cowboys are looking for in a starting tight end. They prefer someone who they can trust and and handling the blocking assignments as well as being a threat in the passing game. Blocking is one area where Schultz has the advantage over Blake Jarwin right now in this point of their careers. He was after all considered one of the complete tight ends coming out of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Schultz didn't have a terrible rookie season last year, but he was buried a little bit on the depth chart which impacted his on-field production. He finished 2018 with 12 catches for 116 yards with a catching percentage of 70%. It's not terrible production considering how little he was used in the passing game, but I believe the 6'5", 244 pounder is capable of much more. He possesses all the tools needed to be a starting caliber TE in the league.
Personally, I have a hard time saying anyone but Blake Jarwin being Jason Witten's primary backup tight end this season. I really like Dalton Schultz because of his ability to contribute as a blocker and receiver, but Jarwin brings something a little different to the table than any other TE on the roster. I think he can be a real factor in the passing game, especially now with the creativity Kellen Moore is supposedly adding to the Cowboys offense.
I'm not completely shutting the door on Dalton Schultz though. Like I mentioned earlier, the Cowboys like the fact he can be an every down player. I don't know if Jarwin could be trusted with the same kind responsibility right now. Trust can go a long ways in earning more playing time, and if I'm looking for more of a complete TE, Schultz would probably be my guy.
It may seem a little trivial to discuss who's the best suited to back up Jason Witten in 2019, but we've all seen how quickly a backup can become a starter. That's why if I had to choose right now I'd probably have to go with Blake Jarwin. He's the more experienced and productive player, but all of that could be thrown out the window if Dalton Schultz outperforms him in training camp and preseason. It's something to keep an eye on.
Who do you prefer… Blake Jarwin or Dalton Schultz?
3 Stars from Dallas Cowboys Win over the Washington Redskins
As the Dallas Cowboys put away the Washington Redskins Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys moved to 2-0 with their 31-21 win over their NFC East rival. Just as important, the Cowboys moved to 2-0 in the NFC East and in conference play.
Those things aren’t important now, but as the season goes along and inches toward December, those divisional and conference records matter when it comes to settling tie breakers. The Dallas Cowboys are off to an excellent start to the season and have clearly taken to the offensive coaching their receiving.
In their second double-digit win of the season, there were several players who stood above the rest and named this week’s three stars.
Dak Prescott, Quarterback
For the second week in a row, the number one star goes to the most valuable player on the team, Dak Prescott.
After another shaky start to the game that saw Prescott go 4 of 7 for with an interception, he finished the day 26 of 30 for 269 yards, three touchdowns, and the interception. Prescott also added 69 rushing yards on five carries.
Of Dak’s four incompletions, two of them were dropped by the wide receiver, one was a throwaway out of the back of the end zone, and the other was the interception that bounced off of Randall Cobb’s hands. He was nearly perfect on the day and got the Dallas Cowboys on the board with a beautiful deep ball to Wide Receiver Devin Smith for 51 yards.
As he did in week one, Dak Prescott continued to show a tremendous command of the offense. His pre-snap recognition has been sublime through the first two weeks and he’s done a fantastic job getting the ball out on time and spreading the ball around.
On Sunday, eight different Dallas Cowboys caught passes. Four wide receivers, two tight ends, and two running backs.
Dak Prescott is playing at a very high level right now and with the tanking Miami Dolphins up next on the schedule, there's no reason to believe he can't keep up this career-best pace.
Devin Smith, Wide Receiver
Called into action as Tavon Austin deals with concussion-like symptoms, Devin Smith made the most of his first target of the season, beating Josh Norman deep for a 51-yard touchdown strike. The big play got the scoring started for the Dallas Cowboys and sparked an offense that wasn’t getting much accomplished in the first quarter of the game.
Smith’s ability to win deep also helped him catch another couple short passes as the Washington Redskins’ secondary had to respect his deep speed. He caught two other passes, one of which went for a first down and likely catapulted ahead Tavon Austin on the wide receiver depth chart moving forward.
Smith finished the day with three receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. With his productive day on film now, Dallas Cowboys’ opponents have another weapon to account for in the Dallas Cowboys passing game. As if Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb weren’t hard enough to scheme against, the Cowboys now can deploy four wide receivers who can win down the field.
After his excellent game on Sunday, look for Devin Smith to get more opportunities.
Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back
On Sunday against the Washington Redskins, Ezekiel Elliott looked fully up to speed. The Washington Redskins did a good job of rallying to Elliott at the second level, but he did a fantastic job reading his blocks and making people miss to get to the linebacker and secondary levels of the field.
Elliott didn’t break any big runs, but he was close several times and did a good job finding cut back lanes.
On the day, Ezekiel Elliott finished with 23 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown. He also added two receptions for nine yards.
After sitting out all of training camp, Elliott showed up in good shape. It only took him two weeks of practice to return to his typical workload. He was an important piece late in the game as the Dallas Cowboy went to work grinding out the clock with a big lead.
Despite the big performance by the passing game the first two weeks of the sesaon, Elliott and the run game will continue to be a huge part of the Dallas Cowboys offense. The big difference this season, however, is that teams are going to be forced to respect Dak Prescott and the passing game. That should only help Ezekiel Elliott by giving him much more favorable defensive fronts to run against.
In the first two games of the season, the Dallas Cowboys have shown off an elite passing game, to go with their now highly regarded passing game. If the offense can maintain this kind of balance moving forward, they’re going to be incredibly difficult to stop.
Dak Prescott Dominates Redskins, Ties own Career-High for Consecutive Completions
Dak Prescott had a historic day in last week's season-opening win against the New York Giants. He set a franchise record for passing yards in a season opener, threw four touchdowns and had a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Prescott would be named NFC Offensive Player of the Week and set up a huge early-season road test against the arch-rival Washington Redskins, a team he's had great success against. If there were any thoughts of a letdown performance by Prescott, they didn't last very long.
The first quarter was a nightmare offensively for the Dallas Cowboys. They only managed 36 yards on 9 plays and found themselves in a 7-0 hole. About midway through the second quarter, Prescott led a seven-play 97-yard drive that was capped off with a 51-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith. Just before halftime, he engineered an eleven play 83-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Jason Witten and gave the Cowboys a 14-7 halftime lead.
Prescott came out firing on the opening possession of the second half going 5 of 5 and finding Amari Cooper for a touchdown that put the Cowboys up 21-7. The Redskins added a touchdown and the Cowboys added a field goal before Ezekiel Elliott's touchdown in the fourth quarter put the game out of reach 31-14, which they eventually won 31-21.
Prescott ended the game with 18 consecutive completions which tied his own record. In the second half, Prescott was a perfect 14 of 14 for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns. Through two games, he's 51 of 62 (82.3%) for 674 yards and 7 touchdowns with only one interception. He joins only Don Meredith in 1966 as the only Cowboys quarterbacks to have 7 touchdowns in the first two games of the season. His passer rating is an amazing 142.9 as he's led the Cowboys to their first 2-0 start since 2015.
Coming into this season there were still a lot of doubters when it came to Prescott's ability to throw the football accurately on a consistent basis. Even a perfect passer rating in week one those questions were still a topic of discussion considering the Giants weren't seen as a real test. When his All-Pro teammate Ezekiel Elliott was asked about those who continue to doubt his quarterback, he was firm in his stance.
"They don't matter, " Elliott said. "All that matters is what we think in this locker room. We all support each other and we know Dak is one of the best QBs in this league. They can doubt all they want. We'll keep proving them wrong."
All the offseason preparation by Prescott with Quarterbacks Coach Jon Kitna and Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore is paying huge dividends so far. The chemistry between himself and his pass-catchers can't be denied, as he's off to the best start of his career. He'll look to make it 3 for 3 this Sunday in Arlington against the Miami Dolphins.
3 Bets Involving Cowboys Players in 2019
With 674 passing yards, seven touchdowns and a completion rate of 51/62, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott has Cowboys fans excited about what the team can achieve this year, and that is reflected in the betting as Dallas have been cut in the Super Bowl, NFC Championship and NFC East markets following their victories against their divisional rivals.
If you are looking to place a bet on the Cowboys, here are three markets you may want to turn to outside of the conventional outright odds on the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Prescott Looks Like a Great Value at +2500 to be MVP
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 8, 2019
New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has picked up a lot of praise for his play-calling against the Giants and Redskins. The former Cowboys back-up quarterback is already being talked about as a future head coach in the league. Although he does not have the same wealth of experience that his predecessor Scott Linehan had, we have seen over the last few years, particularly in LA with the Rams who reached the Super Bowl last year, that youthful coaches can have success.
The offense, and particularly Moore's former teammate Prescott, seemed to enjoy executing the plays that Moore dialed up, something which is only going to help Dallas’ number four deliver some big numbers this year. If he continues where he left off against the Redskins, he is a fantastic value in the betting at +2500 to be named as the league’s MVP.
Cowboys +800 to Win the NFC Championship
The Cowboys have not won the NFC Championship since 1995, however, this looks like their best chance of doing that in a long time. One of the big turning points last season was Dallas’ trade for Oakland Raiders’ Wide Receiver Amari Cooper. He has transformed the offense. The former Raider will be supported by Randall Cobb and Michael Gallup in 2019, giving Prescott plenty of options down the field.
Arguably the biggest player to return to action for the Cowboys though, which makes them NFC Championship contenders again, is Center Travis Frederick. The offensive line is far more solid with the four-time Pro Bowler in there.
The Rams, Saints, and Eagles are all going to be threats for the NFC title, however, the Cowboys may be good enough to eclipse those sides in 2019. Bookmakers such as bet365 are offering odds of +800 for the Cowboys to reach the Super bowl. Based on this review, bet365 is one of the best bookmakers to use in Canada and they offer a $200 sign up bonus.
Ezekiel Elliott is a Lock in the Betting for Top Rushing Yards
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 8, 2019
Regarding Running Back Ezekiel Elliott, there were real concerns that Dallas’ former first-round pick would be unavailable for week one, however, Jerry Jones got the deal done just in time for Elliott to face their divisional rivals. The 2016 and 2018 league leader in rushing yards looks to be in great shape with no suspensions looming over him this year, he should be set for a full year.
Elliott is a generational RB, therefore, it is no surprise that he tops the list with the bookmakers to win the leading rusher trophy for a third year. If you are looking for a lock this year in NFL betting, Elliott is your bet at +400.
Whatever happens this year, it should be a fun season with the Cowboys as they are good enough to give any team in the NFL a game, and who knows, they may just be the best of the pack.
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