Since being selected in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft, Jason Witten has forged an illustrious career with the Dallas Cowboys as one of the league's all-time elite tight ends. Now at the age of 32, Witten's role may change, but his value will remain crucial.
In 12 professional seasons, Witten has caught 943 passes for 10,502 yards and 57 touchdowns. He has been a constant target for Cowboys' quarterbacks, being active for all but one game his entire career.
Witten is one of the best tight end's in NFL history, trailing only Tony Gonzalez for the most receptions and yards from that position in the league's history. In 2012, he set the record for most receptions in a game by a tight end with 18. He currently holds the Cowboys franchise record for career receptions.
The only thing missing from his Hall-of-Fame career is a Super Bowl ring, and time is not on his side.
Witten will turn 33 years-old as the 2015 season takes shape. His chemistry with Tony Romo and his durability cannot be questioned. Although he may see fewer opportunities in the passing game, he brings valuable qualities elsewhere that will be critical for a winning season.
Aside from his success in the passing game, Witten has developed into one of the game's best blocking tight ends. He brings strength and athleticism into the running game to set key blocks for the backs.
The tight-end position has developed into a position that features an athletic, lanky receiver who can be a threat in the red zone, but Jason Witten is one of the few all-around tight ends in the league. He can block, catch and run.
Both in the locker room and in the huddle, Jason Witten's role as a leader on the Dallas Cowboys is something the former Tennessee Volunteer demonstrates by example, on and off the field.
As father time quickly approaches Jason, his importance to this team is as prevalent as ever.
For years we have seen Witten torment opposing defenses, particularly on third downs. He has become the ole' reliable target for #9. With the emergence of Gavin Escobar as the number two tight end, there is less dependence on Witten to make a play in the passing game. Escobar hauled in four touchdown receptions last year, proving himself to be another threat over the middle of the field.
In spite of Gavin Escobar's development, Jason Witten's value cannot be overstated.
Dallas is poised for another winning season in 2015, and the role that Jason Witten will play as a player, and a leader, will be crucial to the Cowboys' Super Bowl dreams.
Tyron Smith Likely to Return Against Jets, La’el Collins Also Possible
Missing Tyron Smith last week as a significant factor in the Dallas Cowboys' loss to the Green Bay Packers. Losing La'el Collins midway through the game certainly didn't help, either. Thankfully, the Cowboys may be getting both starting offensive tackles back this week when they face the New York Jets.
In a radio show appearance earlier today, Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones stated that Smith was on pace to get back on the field this Sunday in New York. There is not the same certainty around Collins, but a recent knee MRI was negative for any major injury.
Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones tells @1053thefan that Tyron Smith's progress from a sprained ankle looks "promising" with the Jets up next, but they'll see how the week goes. Jones not ruling out La'el Collins (sprained knee) either. #cowboyswire
Assuming Tyron is able to play but La'el is not, we will likely see Cameron Fleming starting at right tackle against the Jets.
Fleming played on the left side last week with Smith out, and backup Brandon Knight came in the game once Collins was injured. Knight had a solid game in his first regular season action, so perhaps Dallas would consider giving him the opportunity to play again this week.
The Jets only have six sacks on the year, which is near the bottom of the league, so Dallas may also be tempted to give Collins an extra week off. Week 7's critical matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles has to already be weighing on their minds.
Even if we only get Tyron Smith back this week, that will go a long way to helping stabilize the offense and giving Dallas a better opportunity to win.
Report: Cowboys RT La’el Collins Expected to Play Sunday
The Dallas Cowboys just got a bit of good news today in the midst of a number of injuries mounting on the roster. According to ESPN's Todd Archer, Right Tackle La'el Collins is expected to play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
While left tackle Tyron Smith is not expected to play Sunday, the Cowboys will have right tackle La'el Collins in the lineup, according to a source. Collins didn't practice Thursday but is expected to get in some work Friday. The Cowboys will also... https://t.co/G2SN9flikD
He's been dealing with a back issue that has kept him out of practice the last two days. Collins has been one of the best right tackles in the NFL so far in 2019 after signing a five-year 50 million dollar extension with 35 million in guarantees last month. If Collins couldn't go the Cowboys were looking to slide Left Guard Connor Williams to right tackle considering he played left tackle in college at Texas for three years.
This news couldn't have come at a better time considering the Cowboys will be without All-Pro Left Tackle Tyron Smith who is dealing with a high ankle sprain. The Packers run defense has been one of the worst in football in the first month of the season. With Collins now back in the lineup, the Cowboys can establish the run game a lot easier with All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott.
Michael Gallup Practices, May Play Sunday vs Packers
In their week four 12-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Dallas Cowboys struggled to move the ball through the air consistently against a better than advertised Saints pass rush and pass defense. The Saints were part of the reason for the Cowboys' struggle as they did a really nice job covering Amari Cooper with Marshon Lattimore and the Cowboys secondary receivers struggled to create separation or make plays when opportunities came their way.
With a huge week five game against a highly ranked pass defense in the Green Bay Packers, the Dallas Cowboys need to have better games from their receiving corp if they want to get back in the win column. The receiving group got a boost on Wednesday with the surprise return to practice of second-year standout Michael Gallup.
Michael Gallup did individual work and some team reps during today's practice: "I'm good to go." Said he's running and cutting. "As long as I can cut, I think I should be good." Amari Cooper: "We need him out there. He actually looked good. He looks like before he got injured.
After having surgery to repair the meniscus in his knee it was thought that Gallup could be out anywhere from two to four weeks as he recovered from the procedure. So, it came as a surprise when Jerry Jones mentioned to Shan Shariff and RJ Choppy on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas-Fort Worth that he wouldn't rule Gallup out for week five. It's been a little more than two weeks since Gallup had the surgery on his knee, so he's getting back into the swing of things on the early side of that two to four week estimate.
Gallup has been a revelation this season opposite Amari Cooper. He's become a reliable target for Quarterback Dak Prescott, getting open often in huge moments of the game when the Dallas Cowboys need a play. After a very inefficient rookie season where he caught less than 50% of his targets, Michael Gallup's caught 13 of 15 targets this season for 226 yards, which is good for 17.4 yards per reception.
Though Amari Cooper is without a doubt the Dallas Cowboys' number one wide receiver, Michael Gallup has been just as important. Dak Prescott thrives when he has several options that he can turn to within a game so he's not having to force throws in just one direction. As we saw the first two weeks of the season, Prescott was more than willing to spread the ball around and take advantage of passing game mismatches.
As the Dallas Cowboys get ready to face a Green Bay Packers defense that is allowing the fifth-lowest net yards per attempt and the fourth-fewest passing yards through the first four weeks of the season. Against the Saints, the Cowboys were only able to hit two passes greater than 20 yards down the field and only five passes beyond ten yards. Each of the first two weeks of the season, the passing game was able to complete eight passes beyond ten yards.
In the last two weeks Dak Prescott's completion percentage, yards per attempt, passing yards, and quarterback rating has been lower than what it was the first two weeks of the season with Gallup.
Michael Gallup provides an important balance in the passing game. His presence helps take some of the pressure off of Amari Cooper and even the running game. Getting Gallup back will only enhance the Cowboys' ability to be effective and efficient on offense this week. For the Cowboys to get the win, they'll need to get back to the team they were the first three weeks of the season.
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