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Dallas Cowboys Tight End By Committee Approach Paying Off

John Williams

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The Good, Bad, and Ugly From Cowboys 2018 Season Finale 1

When Jason Witten up and retired just before the start of the second round of the NFL Draft this past offseason, the Cowboys were left with an enormous hole at the Tight End position. The Cowboys had opportunities to address the position in the draft in the second and third round, but stayed with their pre-draft plan and addressed it in the middle rounds by selecting Dalton Schultz in the fourth round.

The message the coaches and front office preached was they would attempt to fill the production void left by the future hall of famer with a committee approach with veteran Geoff Swaim, Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin, and the newly added rookie Schultz.

It was a risky approach at a position that had provided elite production for a decade and a half, but given when the void was created, they didn't really have many options.

Credit the Dallas Cowboys front office and coaching staff for not panicking and staying the course at the position with players that they've been rather fond of. In particular, Blake Jarwin, who the team promoted from the practice squad late last season when the Philadelphia Eagles came calling attempting to sing Jarwin to their roster.

While they're going to be hard pressed to get the same elite-level production out of players with such limited experience in the NFL, as they did out of Witten. They're approach may not have paid off early in the season, but over the last eight games, the tight end position has been really productive for the Cowboys.

If we go back and look at the leading receiver at tight end, the Cowboys got. Pretty solid season out of their group of imtight ends. With Geoff Swaim, Rico Gathers, and Blake Jarwin each leading the position in at least one game (though Rico's two targets, no receptions game hardly led the team), the TE1 combined for 63 targets, 50 receptions, 530 yards, and four touchdowns.

Those numbers at first glance may not look great, but they sit just outside of the top ten if you compare them to individual tight end performances in 2018.


Obviously that isn't prime or peak Jason Witten who was putting together 80-100 catch seasons during his prime like clockwork. Even if you just look at what Jason Witten has done since he turned 30, it's still not matching his production. From his age 30 season on, Witten averaged 106 targets per season for 76 receptions, 756 yards, and four touchdowns. Where the 2018 tight end production does compare favorably is to Jason Witten's 2017 where he saw 87 targets, caught 63 passes for 560 yards, and five touchdowns.

Jeff Sullivan on Twitter

Found this interesting: Cowboys tight ends in 2018: 68 catches, 710 yards, 4 TDs Cowboys tight ends in 2017: 69 catches, 673 yards, 6 TDs

Jason Witten's 2017 and the Cowboys TE1 2018 is very similar in production.

However, with what Blake Jarwin's done over the last four games of the season, if you project that over a 16 game season, you'd get 80 receptions on 100 targets for 912 yards and 12 touchdowns. Now that production looks a lot like what Jason Witten did for much of his career.

Obviously, it's not as simple as taking a four game sample size and projecting it out, but we can see why the Cowboys were so excited about Jarwin as a player. He's displayed excellent hands, route running, and athleticism since he's been unleashed in the last four weeks.

FOX Sports: NFL on Twitter

Dallas Cowboys undrafted rookie TE Blake Jarwin has now done something that Jason Witten never did.

As if Blake Jarwin’s game wasn’t awesome enough, he was able to accomplish something that Witten never did; catch three touchdowns in a game. That’s pretty incredible considering how many passes he caught over the course of his career.

The Cowboys brass took a huge risk in attemptin to fill the Grand Canyon-sized hole left by Jason Witten’s retirement. While they started out slowly, the tight end group for the Cowboys is playing really good football right now and could have a huge impact on how deep the Dallas Cowboys go in the playoffs this year.


Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Zeke Had The Exact Kind of Game Cowboys Need

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Ezekiel Elliott Should be rid of all Rust

It's pretty difficult to deal with the hype of being 2-0 to open a 2019 NFL season. The Dallas Cowboys have done just that with a revamped offense and a quarterback that's thrown seven touchdowns in the process. They currently sit alone atop of the NFC East and although it's too early to know what kind of team this will be when it's all said alone, we're excited.

Let's dive into this week's takeaways!

We Need Robert Quinn Back

The Dallas Cowboys defense hasn't been as bad as many would think. They've had a few bad moments but the talent is still there and should be improving as the season goes on. Last Sunday, what was most frustrating to me was the lack of a pass rush. DeMarcus Lawrence had a pretty good game, even though his stat line doesn't look very pretty. The pressure was there constantly and he forced a handful of bad plays from Case Keenum. Tyrone Crawford managed to sack him once.

Breaking News: Robert Quinn Suffers Fractured Hand

Other than that, for most of the game the pressure was scarce. Fortunately, the Cowboys are getting Robert Quinn back from suspension this week. Having two quality edge rushers will boost a defense that has the potential to be great, but has only been "good" two weeks into the season.

Ezekiel Elliott Had The Kind of Game The Cowboys Need

Zeke was back for a heavier workload in week 2 after having a snap count in the season opener. It may have not felt like it, but the Cowboys' star running back had a pretty good game versus the Redskins. On 23 carries he had 111 yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.8 yards per carry.

In contrast of recent years, Elliott had a great game without the team heavily leaning on the running game. Dak Prescott threw the ball 30 times and Zeke still had a great game. This is what Cowboys Nation should want out of Kellen Moore's offense.


Elliott has two rushing touchdowns in the season, compared to six in all of last year. This is a product of an offense that's now dangerous in many ways, specially in the red zone. You gotta love what Moore is accomplishing so far.

Slow Starts Can't Continue to Happen

The biggest issue with the Cowboys in the first two weeks of the season has been their slow openings. In both games they've started trailing early. The worst thing about it is that it's been due to giving up big plays (like Saquon Barkley's big run in week 1) and quick, unsuccessful drives on offense (like a three-and-out drive followed by a drive that ended in an interception last Sunday).

Fortunately for the Cowboys, the Giants and Redskins didn't pose much of a problem. But when we reach the tougher stretches of the schedule, we know how quickly a game can turn south. Not every rival will be as unforgiving as the 0-2 foes they've faced so far.

DAL 31, WAS 21: Dak Prescott Dominant In Comfortable Win 1

Dak Prescott Continues to Prove He's It

Last but not least, we'll talk about Dak Prescott. Once again, he looked great. He finished the day with 269 yards, three touchdowns and an interception that came on a tipped ball from Randall Cobb's hand. He threw an absolute dime to WR Devin Smith, giving him his ninth 50+ yard touchdown pass of his career (ranking third in the NFL since 2016 behind Tom Brady and Philip Rivers).

All game long, he was precise against Washington's defense. He dealt three touchdowns to three different players and was making throws with anticipation and poise. If you're not sold on Dak Prescott yet, I don't know if you'll ever be.

He also looked well as a runner, specially on that 42-yard run where he stiffed arm Josh Norman. I hope the Cowboys continue to use him in the running game.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Zeke Had The Exact Kind of Game Cowboys Need" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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Dallas Cowboys

Brees Out for 6 Weeks, How Much Will Cowboys Win Streak Last?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Brees Out for 6 Weeks, How Much Will Cowboys Win Streak Last?
Brad Mills / USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys are off to a hot start in 2019. Two weeks into the season, they're showing off a 2-0 record as they've outscored their opponents 66-38. The offense has been on point through two games under Kellen Moore's coordination. There have been some issues, but these have been largely outnumbered by the positive things.

Truth be told, such a start was expected. Well, maybe not Dak's seven touchdowns and 674 yards, but having two wins to start off the season certainly was. The Cowboys opening three-game stretch looked like an easy one from miles away. Dallas faces the Miami Dolphins next Sunday and they're already favorites by 20.5 points in the betting world.

Things weren't expected to heat up for the Cowboys until week 4 and now it seems like that won't happen.

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees suffered a hand injury against the L.A. Rams last Sunday and will require surgery. A torn ligament on his throwing hand thumb will keep him out for at least six weeks. This is a heavy blow for a team expected to be a Super Bowl contender.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From our breaking news segment on @nflnetwork: #Saints QB Drew Brees needs thumb surgery and is out for roughly 6 weeks. Teddy Bridgewater is the new starter. https://t.co/x4g6yVVIZm

With Teddy Bridgewater set to become the Saints' starting quarterback, odds will likely shift in the Cowboys' direction when both teams face each other on September 29th, a matchup that will take place under the lights on Sunday Night Football.

For the Cowboys, it means an increased chance of winning on week 4. I'm not going to lie to you, I would 100% rather face a Saints team with Drew Brees under center to enjoy a good football game, but it is what it is. You hate to see a great football player like Brees deal with injuries like this.


The Saints are still a very complete football team and shouldn't be underestimated, but it's hard to picture them being as productive offensively without their elite quarterback. Having said that, the Cowboys' schedule looks very favorable for Dallas.

These are the rivals that the Cowboys will face prior to the bye week:

  • VS Miami Dolphins
  • @ New Orleans Saints
  • VS Green Bay Packers
  • @ New York Jets
  • vs Philadelphia Eagles

The toughest rivals on that slate are clearly the Packers and Eagles. It won't be easy, but should the Cowboys stay healthy, beating both definitely seems possible. Before that, I won't be surprised if the Cowboys reach the bye week with a 7-0 record.

This team has been pretty impressive through two weeks and if they clean up their slow starts, watch out for a long win streak. Looking at the games after the bye week, the biggest challenge definitely are the New England Patriots on week 12.

I don't want to sound overly optimistic, but I truly believe a long win streak is ahead of the Dallas Cowboys. Such a start to the season wouldn't be all that new for the Dak Prescott "era." Although they lost their season opener in 2016, they went on to win 11 straight on route to the #1 seed in the NFC.

We'll have a better idea of where the Cowboys stand after they face better competition. Right now, we need to handle the hype of a satisfying 2-0 record.

How long do you think the Cowboys win streak will last?

Tell me what you think about "Brees Out for 6 Weeks, How Much Will Cowboys Win Streak Last?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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REPORT: Cowboys S Xavier Woods Out 4-6 Weeks With Ankle Injury

Jess Haynie

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Xavier Woods

Another tough injury coming out of last week's game against Washington; Cowboys starting Safety Xavier Woods is now expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain injury.

This comes just a day after Dallas lost WR Michael Gallup for 2-4 weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

Cowboys FS Xavier Woods is expected to miss four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain, source said. A blow to the secondary with #Saints, #Packers among upcoming opponents.

The next man up at safety appears to be Darian Thompson, who has been with the Cowboys since midway through the 2018 season. He was re-signed as a free agent last March and is one of the key reasons that Dallas chose not to keep veteran George Iloka at final cuts.

Michael Gehlken on Twitter

Cowboys S Darian Thompson will make his first start Sunday since joining team in 2018, source said. S Xavier Woods is sidelined with high ankle sprain.

Earlier this morning, it was reported that Dallas is working out free agent safety Josh Jones. He was a 2nd-Round pick of the Packers in 2017 who was released last month after falling down the depth chart and demanding a trade.


Dallas still has Kavon Frazier and Donovan Wilson on the roster for safety depth. While many fans would love to see Wilson get the start this week, Darian Thompson's game and athleticism are more suited to play the free safety role.

Thompson also has experience, having started 17 games from 2016-2017 with the New York Giants. He was their 3rd-Round pick in 2016.

Thankfully, this Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins gives the Cowboys a soft opponent with which to make these adjustments. But missing Xavier Woods is going to hurt; he is a rising star on defense and easily their top player at safety.


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