Blake Jarwin finished last season with his stock at its all-time high, especially thanks to a three-touchdown explosion in the Week 17 finale. He seemed like the answer at tight end for the Cowboys, but then Jason Witten came back and created a whole new question. How can Jarwin, still very unproven, overcome Witten's incredible legacy in this 2019 training camp?
Witten is more than just a longtime star. He's a lock for the Ring of Honor and should be a shoe-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here's a quick refresher on Jason's resume:
- Cowboys all-time leader in receptions
- Cowboys all-time leader in receiving yards
- 2nd all-time in receptions for NFL tight ends
- 2nd all-time in receiving yards for NFL tight ends
- 4th all-time in receptions for all NFL players
- 21st all-time in receiving yards for all NFL players
So yeah, Jason Witten is a big, freaking deal. It'd be very easy to get distracted by his surprising comeback from the broadcast booth and assume he's walking back into his same old job.
But the harsh reality is that none of Witten's 1,152 career catches, 12,448 yards, or 68 touchdowns are going to help the Dallas Cowboys win in 2019.
Being honest about the present in no way diminishes the past. Witten's comeback tour is a neat story, but is he really the Cowboys' best option at tight end for this season?
One media personality's observation from training camp yesterday, however simple, is worth noting.
With all due respect. And again I'm saying with all due respect....there's a big difference in the way #89 and #82 move around out here. Jarwin is moving really well.
Even if Jason Witten is recharged after a year away he's not going to win back everything from Father Time. He will never be the same player as in his prime, and the Jason we saw in 2017 was struggling to make an impact with his decreased athleticism.
Blake Jarwin is 25 years old and in just his third season. He spent most of 2017 on the practice squad and most of 2018 stuck behind Geoff Swaim as a reserve. 2019 is his first real shot at being the primary option at tight end.
There is a lot that Witten's experience and technique can do to help him be effective. But in the end, football has a lot do with the primal advantages of being bigger, stronger, and faster than the opposition.
Jarwin may never be what Witten was, but neither can Jason at this point. The question for 2019 is who can get closest.
One of the beautiful things about Jason's return is his expressed willingness to be a mentor to Jarwin and the other young players. He's declared that he's not worried about his role and just wants to help the Cowboys win.
If Witten is a man of his word, then living up to it may involve stepping back and letting Blake Jarwin take center stage at tight end. Even if Jason knows what to do out there better than the youngster, he may simply be unable to execute the plays the way the Cowboys need.
Hopefully, Jarwin's stock will continue to rise thanks to increased opportunity and the tutelage of a grand master. The combined efforts of Jarwin's body and Witten's mind will ideally elevate the TE position from where it's been the last few years.
Report: Amari Cooper Likely out for the Rest of the Preseason
Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper is likely out for the remainder of the preseason according to ESPN's Todd Archer. He is currently dealing with a form of plantar fasciitis that has kept him out of practice since August 6th.
The three-time pro bowler changed life in Dallas last season as the team went 7-2 in it's final nine games after he was acquired to win the NFC East. Cooper isn't worried about any long term effects, though, as this is something he's familiar with.
"I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before."
The Cowboys host the Houston Texans this Saturday in what is known as the "dress rehearsal" game before the regular season. Starters normally play about a half of football to get the juices flowing for when games really count in September. Ideally, the plan would be for Cooper and Dak Prescott to get a rhythm of sorts before the season starts but that will have to wait until the team prepares to take on the New York Giants on September 8th.
However, the good thing here is this issue doesn't seem to be serious and Cooper will be ready for the start of the 2019 season.
Report: Cowboys Agree To Contract Extension With LB Jaylon Smith
The Cowboys are neck-deep in contract negotiations with some of their team's most important players, but it appears they have gotten one key guy signed this afternoon.
ESPN's Todd Archer is reporting that the Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with middle linebacker Jaylon Smith, though the exact terms of the contract have yet to be announced.
The Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with linebacker Jaylon Smith, according to sources. Smith was set to be a restricted free agent after this season but the Cowboys and his representatives started talks in the spring and they ramped up once camp began. Smith, a...
Of course, the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith early in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft despite the horrific leg injury he suffered in Notre Dame's college bowl game. Some didn't think Smith would ever recover to be the same player he once was, but in 2018 Smith emerged as an excellent middle linebacker once again. Smith finished the 2018 season with 121 combined tackles and 4 sacks, and has looked just as imposing thus far in the preseason.
Smith regained his athleticism and sideline to sideline speed, while retaining his impressive hit power and sound tackling to become one of the league's best. Combining Smith with Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys have put together arguably the best linebacker group in the NFL.
And now, there's no end in sight for the dynamic duo.
Report: 2 Dallas Cowboys to be Activated off of P.U.P. List
Per a report from ESPN's Todd Archer, the Dallas Cowboys will soon activate Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence off of the Physically Unable to Perform (P.U.P.) List.
"The Cowboys are planning to activate defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford from the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, according to a source. They will work through individual drills in their first steps on the field before going through full practices. Lawrence had shoulder surgery not long after signing a five-year, $101 million contract in April. Crawford has been working his way through a hip issue that kept him out of the offseason program. Safety Byron Jones (hip) and receiver Noah Brown (knee) remain on PUP."
Todd Archer - ESPN.com
This report comes after DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery in April and signed his five-year deal making him the highest-paid player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, at least for now. It looks as if Lawrence will be ready for a week one return.
It's long been believed that Lawrence would be available for week one of the regular season and hasn't suffered any setbacks to this point that should lead you to believe otherwise. With Robert Quinn suspended for the first two games of the regular season and Randy Gregory's status still up in the air (he still hasn't applied for reinstatement), getting Lawrence and Crawford back for the first two weeks of the season becomes instrumental.
The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has looked really good through the first two games of the preseason, but as good as they've been, they'll need Lawrence and Crawford once the regular season starts. Lawrence will slot back in as the left defensive end and Tyrone Crawford will split snaps at right defensive end with Dorance Armstrong and 3-technique defensive tackle with Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, and Kerry Hyder.
While the additions of DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford will help the defense tremendously, there still isn't a timeline on the return of Pro Bowl Cornerback Byron Jones. Jones has been out since having hip surgery this offseason.
With as good as the Dallas Cowboys defense has looked this offseason, there's reason to believe that they can be even better once each of these guys are back in the lineup full-time. For a defense that was one of the 10 best defenses in the NFL in 2019, they'll need Lawrence, Crawford, and Jones to make the jump into the elite stratosphere of NFL defenses.
With the Dallas Cowboys' eyes set on capturing that sixth Lombardi Trophy, getting Lawrence and Crawford back in time to be ready for the regular season is vital to starting the 2019 season off right.
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