Cowboys Nation, you may get your wish and finally see Tight End Rico Gathers more involved in the Dallas Cowboys game plan this week against the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Injuries at the wide receiver and tight end position may give the coaching staff no other choice than to get Gathers more involved, even though they’ve been reluctant to do so up to this point.
The injury to WR Allen Hurns grabbed the majority the headlines last week in the Wild Card round against the Seattle Seahawks, and rightfully so. It was one of the more gruesome injuries to witness in recent memory and the stomach-turning nature of it won’t be soon forgotten. But, Hurns wasn’t the only Cowboys player to sustain an injury in the win over the Seahawks.
If not for Hurns horrific injury, Cole Beasley and Blake Jarwin might be a bigger storyline this week. Both players unfortunately sustained an ankle injury against the Seahawks, although nowhere near as serious as Hurns’. But, both players have yet to practice this week putting their availability for the Divisional Round up in the air.
Not having Cole Beasley in the lineup would seem like the bigger blow to the Cowboys offense because he’s been the more productive player, but at least Dallas has more depth to lessen the blow. If Blake Jarwin is unable to play, the lack of depth at TE might finally come back to bite the Cowboys in the butt.
If Jarwin is indeed out against the Rams, the Cowboys would have to turn to Dalton Schultz and Rico Gathers as their primary tight ends. One is a rookie and the other is in his third year, but neither has much experience in the NFL or production. Unfortunately, that’s the current state of Dallas’ TE position.
Dalton Schultz would likely take over as a starter. Both he and Jarwin have been receiving most of the playing time at TE after Geoff Swaim sustained a wrist injury and was lost for the season, so it’s the most logical move. But, I wouldn’t count out Rico Gathers just yet.
Rico Gathers has been a fan favorite for a lot of people around Cowboys Nation since entering the league in 2016. Yes, that’s the same draft class that brought Ezekiel Elliott, Jaylon Smith, Maliek Collins, Anthony Brown, Dak Prescott, and Kavon Frazier to Dallas. But unlike his fellow 2016 draftees, he hasn’t really received a chance to prove himself on the field.
Jarwin’s injury could be the opportunity Rico Gathers has been waiting for. Even if Dalton Schultz is named the starter, Gathers will without a doubt see his playing time increase. Luckily, I believe he’s up to the task and is more than ready to prove what he can do.
His receiving ability in the passing game has never been in question. It’s his ability as a blocker that has kept him off the field. But, he’s shown vast improvements in this area of his game which has earned him more playing time this season. He should be good to go, at least that’s what we are all hoping anyway.