The Dallas Cowboys offense has recently been in a slump and there is no clear answer as to why this is happening. I know the popular reason why is because of Ezekiel Elliott's suspension, but I think Elliott just masked deeper issues. Personally, I think it has to do with the limited amount of production the Cowboys offense is receiving from the tight end position.
Now, I agree that without Ezekiel Elliott in the lineup the offense for the Dallas Cowboys isn't the same. Elliott is a special player and replacing his productivity is nearly impossible. But, even before #21's suspension, the TE position for the Cowboys left a lot to be desired.
Unfortunately, the production from the TE position just isn't there this season. Jason Witten is no longer the threat he once was in the passing game and nobody else is even being utilized. That's why a lot of Cowboys Nation wants to get Rico Gathers on the field.
Rico Gathers pretty much looked unstoppable in the preseason and was on his way to becoming a serious threat for the Cowboys offense. Unfortunately, he suffered a concussion in practice and had to be placed on injured reserve, where he still remains. Sadly, that doesn't look to change this season.
Since Rico Gathers isn't going to join the active roster this season, the Dallas Cowboys have to find a way to get all of their TEs more involved. I know I'm going to be harassed for even suggesting it, but it might mean it's time to see less of Jason Witten.
Please don't get me wrong, I am a huge Jason Witten fan. In fact, he is probably my favorite all-time player to ever suit up for the Dallas Cowboys. But, he's not doing the offense any favors by playing so many snaps.
The Cowboys offense could use a seam buster from the TE position. This is where Jason Witten used to be really dangerous, but he no longer has the speed/acceleration to create separation down the seam like he used to. And unfortunately, the other TEs on the roster don't run many routes in the passing game, instead are asked to stay in and block.
Sadly enough, this is one of the reasons why the Cowboys offense is so predictable. They run a lot of two TE sets, but the defense knows pre-snap that Witten is the only one who will be involved in the passing game. And unfortunately, because he has lost a step, he is limited to the routes he can run.
I think it's time the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff shakes things up at the tight end position just like they did on the defensive side of the ball last week with their secondary. James Hanna and Geoff Swaim definitely need to be involved more, but I don't really think it's going to happen.
To date, Hanna has only one catch for 28 yards, although it did go for a touchdown. Swaim on on the other hand has been a little bit more productive with two catches for 25 yards. That doesn't really suggest they will receive more opportunities in the passing game anytime soon.
I believe the tight end position is severely handcuffing the Cowboys offense this season. Something definitely needs to change, which means Jason Witten might have to accept a decrease in playingtime. That likely won't happen, but that's probably what it's going to take to get more production from the position.