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NFC East Position Rankings: Tight Ends

We are a little over halfway through the NFC East position group rankings, with our Dallas Cowboys in the “lead,” with three wins out of the first five groups. Now we move to tight ends, a group which the Dallas Cowboys have dominated in over the last decade, but are beginning to fall behind the pack. Dallas Cowboys Like I said, the Cowboys have had Jason Witten since 2003. So they are used to being on top of the tight end category in the NFC East. However, the tide is beginning to turn as Witten ages and the younger Cowboys tight ends have yet to step up.

Kevin Brady

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Jason Witten, Giants

We are a little over halfway through the NFC East position group rankings, with our Dallas Cowboys in the “lead,” with three wins out of the first five groups.

Now we move to tight ends, a group which the Dallas Cowboys have dominated in over the last decade, but are beginning to fall behind the pack.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Blog - Lasting Moments: Week 17 Players of the Week 2

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) reaches the ball past the goal line for a touchdown after catching a four yard pass as Washington Redskins’ Jeron Johnson, left, and Mason Foster (54) right rear, defend in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Like I said, the Cowboys have had Jason Witten since 2003. So they are used to being on top of the tight end category in the NFC East. However, the tide is beginning to turn as Witten ages and the younger Cowboys tight ends have yet to step up.

Witten had a lackluster season a year ago, partly because of the absence of Tony Romo. With his boy back, Witten should be back to catching those underneath and over the middle routes on third down, and will hopefully get his touchdown numbers back up.

But that isn’t enough to keep the Cowboys atop this category.

Gavin Escobar went missing in action last year after Romo’s first collarbone injury and has yet to really return. This may very well be his final season in Dallas, if he even gets that far.

James Hanna hasn’t provided much since he entered the league, but maybe that will change this season.

Dallas did draft former Baylor Bears basketball player Rico Gathers in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, and I expect him to make the practice squad as a tight end.

Philadelphia EaglesCowboys Headlines - NFC East Position Rankings: Tight Ends

The Eagles are expected to carry four active tight ends this season, led by Zach Ertz.

Ertz and veteran Brent Celek may be the most consistent weapons in the pass game for the Eagles, and will be expected to carry the load of the offense in 2016.

Last year the two combined for 102 catches and over 1000 yards, but only tallied up 5 touchdowns. For the Eagles to be successful offensively, those touchdown numbers must improve.

Trey Burton and Chris Pantale will most likely be the other two tight ends on the roster, with Pantale serving a sort of fullback role as well.

New York GiantsCowboys Headlines - NFC East Position Rankings: Tight Ends 1

The Giants tight end situation presents probably the biggest question mark on their entire offense.

Matt LaCosse has reportedly taken a good amount of first team tight end reps for the Giants during OTA’s and the early days of mini-camp.

With that being said, Will Tye and Larry Donnell both return, and both guys have produced at times. Tye and Donnell will be looked to as the first and second tight end options in the passing game.

Donnell will now be the veteran of this group, and is expected to return from his season ending injury stronger than ever (by Giants fans a writers).

The Giants also drafted South Carolina tight end Jerell Adams in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.

Oh, and my sort-of-hometown but really just home-state tight end Ryan Malleck is getting a chance to make the team.

Washington RedskinsCowboys Headlines - NFC East Position Rankings: Tight Ends 2

2015 saw the rise of the new top tight end of the NFC East, Jordan Reed.

Now being one of the highest paid tight ends in the whole league, Reed is a serious threat to every defense who tries to contain him. He finished with 87 catches for just under 1000 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.

Yeah, he’s pretty good. Luckily my Cowboys have Byron Jones, and I can’t wait to see those two match up twice a year for the forseeable future.

Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul each missed the 2015 season, but are returning for 2016. Both of these players are viable options to be the number two tight end behind Reed.

The Redskins did also add another big name tight end in Vernon Davis. The former 49ers and Broncos’ tight end is hoping to sort of revitalize his career in Washington behind Reed. If he can return to any resemblance of his old-49er form, he and Reed could create a deadly combination.

No, I don’t expect that out of Davis, but the Redskins have a solid tight end group regardless.

Who’s the best?

Cowboys Headlines - NFC East Position Rankings: Tight Ends 3

Nov 3, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (86) signals a first down during the first quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

As much as I love future hall of famer Jason Witten, the Washington Redskins have the best tight end group out of the entire NFC East.

Jordan Reed is a top five tight end in the entire NFL, while Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen, and Vernon Davis provide solid depth at the position.

With the best receiving group and now the best tight end group in the entire division, the Redskins have put together a dangerous offense which will give teams problems in 2016.

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Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Headlines - Forget the Triplets: Cowboys Need The Underrated to Shine in 2016
Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News

For better or worse, the Cowboys don’t even need to play football to be all over national TV. I guess it’s just part of being the one and only America’s Team. For the second consecutive week, Fox Sports had a Dallas Cowboys’ player on set for Fox’s “Undisputed.”

Just a week ago, Brice Butler made waves with some controversial comments that failed to make him look like a “great teammate.”

This time, Fox’s guest was Cowboys’ Cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Unlike Butler, I really think we should give Scandrick credit for being a very good teammate, and acting like one on his TV appearance.

Throughout the segment, it feels as if Orlando is being tricked into saying something against his teammates. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe start bashing on Dez Bryant‘s performance and the fact that he should be replaced.

Of course, this is the kind of stuff fans in Cowboys Nation are thinking about. Heck, I really wouldn’t even mind if Dez isn’t wearing a star next season. However, I really disliked Butler’s comments when asked if he would’ve done a better job if given the same opportunities as Dez.

Scandrick’s responses were awesome though. When asked if he would defend Dez, he didn’t even hesitate.

“I don’t think he’s lost any confidence. He’s one of the most confident players I’ve ever been around. I think it can all be fixed. I think he just needs to get back to work and get back to the basics.” – Orlando Scandrick on Dez Bryant.

Scandrick also answered questions about what went wrong with the Cowboys this season by pointing out the fact they lost one of their best players because of a suspension, and some injuries. But he also said what’s been in our minds for a long time. When asked what was the biggest reason they struggled, he said some painful, yet truthful words: “We played some bad football against some very good teams.”

Later, he was asked about how Sean Lee’s absence affected the defense, he insisted they didn’t step up. At the end of the day, the NFL is a league in which you can’t be that dependent on a single player.

Sean Lee is an awesome player, but I think we’d all like to see this defense be a little less dependent on him.

Scandrick even had to defend Dak Prescott.

Dak was highly criticized after a sophomore season in which he struggled, alongside the entire team. But in the words of Orlando, we should “give him time.” Dak had a lot on his plate, but he made a lot of progress for the Cowboys.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Orlando Scandrick’s time in Dallas may be coming to an end, especially with young guys like Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis taking over. He’s signed through 2019, so who knows; maybe we see him wearing the star for a bit longer.

“It’s always a possibility.” – Orlando Scandrick on potentially not returning to Dallas next season.

Even still, it’s nice to see him support his football team and his friends on a show which featured a non-starting Cowboys’ wide receiver taking shots against his team. Orlando Scandrick deserves an applause.

Tell me what you think about “Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal Is A Good Hire For Cowboys

Yesterday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys will hire Sanjay Lal to be their new wide receivers coach. Lal spent 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts in the same position, but has made multiple stops around the NFL prior to joining the Cowboys staff.

Most recently and arguably most notably, Sanjay Lal was the receivers coach for both the New York Jets (2012-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). This means he coached on Rex Ryan’s staff for two different teams, with two very similar offensive philosophies.

Run the football.

As seen in the video below, Sanjay Lal has experience working as the wide outs coach for an offense with a run-first philosophy. He even says himself that their offense in New York was “ground and pound,” but notes that “without a pass game there’s no pound.”

Cowboys fans became all too familiar with the truth behind that statement during the 2017 season, as even solid efforts in the run game were rendered meaningless by their lack of explosion through the air.

Jets Nation Inside Camp: Sanjay Lal Mic’d Up

Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is mic’d up during training camp, and also discusses trying to play pro football before becoming a coach in the NFL.

A lot has been made of Sanjay Lal’s lack of 1,000-yard receivers during his time as a coach. The offensive philosophies of the teams which he coached for, however, show why this criticism is flimsy.

It’s quite possible the Cowboys will once again be without a 1,000 yard pass catcher this season, but if Ezekiel Elliott and the run game are clicking, and Dak Prescott is spreading the ball to different targets, this stat won’t mean a thing.

Lal was also the coach in Buffalo when Sammy Watkins had the best years of his career, including a 1,000-yard season.

During that stint he coached Robert Woods to productive seasons as well. Now Woods is a dangerous target for the Los Angeles Rams after being coached by Lal for multiple seasons.

These were also the same years that quarterback Tyrod Taylor was at his best.

While in New York, with the Jets, Lal’s most productive receiver was Jeremy Kerley, who finished with 827 yards in 2012 and 523 in 2013. What’s important to note here is that Kerley played as a slot receiver for much of his time as a Jet.

The Cowboys lacked any type of production from the slot in 2017, but maybe Lal can change that by getting the best out of Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, as he did with Kerley.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Know that some believe he had a real shot to be an OC in this league one day. https://t.co/1s21w2jZGR

All indications from those “in the know” suggest Sanjay Lal is on his way to becoming an offensive coordinator soon. Many believe he has the smarts and the football IQ to command an offense himself, as soon as he gets the right opportunity.

Maybe that opportunity will come down the line in Dallas, where he can continue to coach within that “ground and pound” style, which he has done for many years while also implementing elements of his own passing game expertise.

Everyone has been critical of the Cowboys’ inability to bring in external hires, and to spark up new/creative offensive ideas. Lal has spent time among some of the smartest offensive minds in football.

Maybe he’s the man to bring in that outside creativity this offense seems to lack.

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