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Rico Gathers May Make Cowboys Roster on Raw Ability Alone

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Rico Gathers

For the Dallas Cowboys, Rico Gathers may be the best known tight end on the team. That, however, doesn't mean anything when it comes to his chances of making the 53-man roster in 2018. It won't be easy to fill Jason Witten's shoes in Dallas, and having a group of inexperienced players will certainly make the task even more difficult.

From the moment he was drafted, most in Cowboys Nation have rooted hard for the young basketball star who planned on transitioning to football. Talk about a sports fairy-tale! Of course fans want to see him succeed.

Heading into the 2018 season, though, things have changed. The mostly unjustified hype surrounding Gathers has died out and hopes of him making the roster seem slim. His competition, although inexperienced, has the upper hand right now thanks to their blocking skills. For an offense like the Cowboys' blocking is obviously a huge deal.

I think Gathers will end up on someone's roster but I doubt he'll be wearing the Star. If I were a betting man , I'd bet he'll get cut and the Cowboys' front office will move on from the sixth-round gamble they made in 2016.

Even still, there is hope for the 24-year old tight end in Dallas. For Rico Gathers to make the team, he needs to prove he can be a very dangerous weapon in the passing game, specifically in the red zone.

Rico Gathers, Rams

Dallas Cowboys TE Rico Gathers

You see, with Dez Bryant's departure and Witten's retirement, the Cowboys don't seem to have a go-to guy when they're knocking on opponent's end zones. Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley are a promising starting trio of wide receivers, but how intimidated will defenses will be by them inside their own 20-yard line?

Probably not much.

If you add a 6'6" athletic tight end who can go up for the ball to the equation, things change. Rico is bigger than most defenders and could become a weapon thanks to his raw ability. Even though he still has a long way to go to become a starting TE in the NFL, he could become very effective in certain situations.

Gathers is the underdog on this position battle. Geoff Swaim probably has his spot locked up thanks to him being the most experienced one of them all. Rookie Dalton Schultz seems to be the player with the most upside. Blake Jarwin is clearly liked by the coaching staff.

If the Cowboys decide to carry just three tight ends, the decision will probably come down to Gathers and Jarwin.

If Rico is to win the battle, he'll have to rely on his abilities as a pass catcher. At the end of the day, Dak Prescott will need dangerous targets in his third year in the league. It's up to Rico to prove he can be just that if he wants to make the team.

Tell me what you think about "Rico Gathers May Make Cowboys Roster on Raw Ability Alone" 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!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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16 Comments
  • Michael White

    If the Cowboys let him go; he goes to another team and ball out and our TE’s play average then I truly believe it will start the downward slide for Garrett…I’ve been on record saying that Garrett’s offensive philosophy is unimaginative, doesn’t breed raw talent into success and he has allowed too many potential playmakers to leave…They let Marty B leave he shows out for other teams and he wins a Superbowl in the process. People also forget about Danny Amendola; played the same position as Cole Beasley..we let him go only to go out and get the same version of him later; when New England showed how he could be used..

    • Stephen L. Holley

      TRUTH!!

  • Chet Horton

    Rico is not a dangerous threat and he is not a good football player. He might make the roster but the better move is to cut him and keep both the FB they got from the Raiders, who is a far better threat is the passing game than Rico and can block, and keep Smith and Bo at RB. Rico is a horrible football player. We have 2 really good TE’s they just played behind Witten. Swaim has gashed defenses in regular season games and Jarwin is giving our defense fits. You guys who love Rico are blinded by your loyalty to him or you are basketball fans and can’t recognize he is just average athletically for a TE. He isn’t quick or any faster than the other TE’s. They are all in the 4.7 range. If he moves on and gets some PT he will never be as good as our other TE’s as a complete TE which is what this offense needs not a pass catching TE.

    • ghetto eskimo

      who says we need a “complete” TE;.. get this vision of the next Jason Witten out of your heads…. we NEED A TE WHO CAN SCORE!!! That’s it. do you think Jimmy Graham/Antonio Gates are complete TE’s, they can’t even blocker a CB, but last i checked… they were an ALL PRO’s… the guy is 6’6.. the tallest CB/S in the league is 6’3!!! you don’t need a genius or a Princeton degree to know that is a WIN!!!! let him catch touchdowns.. if he doesn’t for us.. he surely will for someone else!!

      • Chet Horton

        1) Get this idea of a pass catching TE out of your head. This is a running offense and a TE is needed to block first and catch 2nd in our offense. If we don’t run the ball A LOT we won’t make the playoffs. You need your RB’s and offensive line to smash mouths and score touchdowns.

        2) We already have 2 real TE’s who can actually play football that can score more TD’s than Rico. Rico is a dud. He doesn’t isn’t even in the same league as bad college TE’s. A pass catching TE is a waste of roster space.

        3) Speaking of roster space… it is a way better option to cut Rico and go short of the TE position to make room for the FB they got from Oakland and keep both Smith and Bo Scarborough. The Smith can double as an H-Back and is a way better threat in the passing game than Rico ever will be so is the FB from Oakland for that matter.

        4) Everyone needs to accept and embrace that this team is a running team first. If we don’t run the ball a lot we don’t win. Pass catching TE’s who can’t block or play special teams do not fit this team and the team should not change that or make exceptions. Period end of story.

        • RE2

          @ Chet, You just can’t stop with your foolish posts! Continue posting this foolishness and your football card will have to be revoked!!!

          • Chet Horton

            @RE2 you are the fool if you believe Rico is anything but a waste of time. He will be cut and amount to nothing in the NFL. Swaim and Jarwin however will do very well this year. Fuck your football card bullshit. Everything thing I said about this team and Rico is spot on. Rico can’t even hold David Wells jock for god sake. I can’t wait the see the articles full of excuses, what if’s, and wait and see’s when his non football playing ass gets cut. May not be this year but he will get cut and disappear into oblivion where he belongs.

    • RE2

      @Chet,

      YOU SOUND LIKE A FOOL! PLEASE POST ON THE WASHINGTON, PHILLY, OR NY BLOG PLEASE!

      Rico Gathers in a two tightend set with Blake Jarwin is going to be a BEAST of a Combination!

      • Chet Horton

        I post on some of the idiotic articles that are published here and I comment on ignorant posts like yours and the guy I commented on before yours. I want the Dallas Cowboys to win a Super Bowl and allowing a player who can’t block to play a single down when our success depends on running the football is foolish. Also, to keep a player on your team that can only catch and doesn’t even catch or run better than the other players you have at that position is stupid. He can’t be trusted to block because he is a liability and could get your star running back who you are counting on to get you to the Super Bowl. If that’s not enough he can’t play special teams either.

  • Mr. Jaguar

    Imo, the Cowboys should keep Rico, since the organization has put resources behind his 3 year development. It wouldn’t surprise me, if Rico makes the 53 man roster. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me, if he’s more of a gamer, than a practice player. Imo, Rico, will rebound by making plays on 3rd downs, when his number is called, during the pre-season games. Swaim, Gathers and Jarwin, with Schultz going to the practice squad. Just my two cents worth.

  • Nicholas Succarotte

    While rico is not yet a good all around complete football player, he is a good receiving threat and a good red zone threat, hes very big, and can box any defender out and out jump almost any defender so receiving wise in certain situations he could become unstoppable. But down side is he is inexperienced and cant block worth a lick. So i think it comes down to how good are tightends do in camp and the preseason games. If we dont have a TE that can get open and make good plays down the field then we should keep him, but if 2 of the other tightends play a lot better then most think they can and will then then we can afford to cut him and keep a different player.

  • Russ_Te

    Gotta appreciate these people who are frowning Gathers after he dominated the couple of quarters of football we’ve seen him in…

  • Chet Horton

    You’re an idiot and completely off base on Rico and Swaim. This is all anyone needs to know about the Cowboys receiving TE’s. When you have a guy like Swain who is a very capable blocker and can run and catch like this the Cowboys will never use Rico’s one dimensional ass. He did this in games that actually matter regular season games not preseason games against guys who are fighting for 3rd string in base defenses. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XP1CbVWr7Ww

    Where is Rico’s regular season game film? Oh wait… he isn’t good enough to have any. I’d say he should go back to basketball but he wasn’t very good at that either.

    • ghetto eskimo

      I’m still trying to figure out how Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim wowed so many people??? And this talk of Bo Scarborough?!?!? You do realize he made it the 6th round (the same round as Rico), no one else picked him for a reason… if you want to believe that this team can only win by running the ball you have been drinking way too much Garrett Kool-Aid.. this is a PASSING LEAGUE… we can’t win by running an offense made in the 90’s!! That’s Garrett’s problem… he refuses to adjust! He doesn’t adjust at halftime, he doesn’t alter routes… he never changes!

      • Chet Horton

        Swaim did by earning his playing time by being good in all phases of his game and answering the bell in regular season meaningful games. He has been good when he got opportunities behind Witten. Jarwin did it by beating our 1st team defense everyday of practice in all phases of the TE position and special teams. Bo Scarborough is a football player who can be a good 3rd string RB and play special teams. Rico isn’t a football player and has no hope of becoming one. This team has posted its best records and super bowl victories by running the football. We will never be a passing team and if we do we will go back to the 8-8 years. This is team is a running team first and no amount of your idiot misguided love for your pet cat Rico is going to change it. I want as many wins as possible and a super bowl victory now not by shitting in one hand and hoping in the other on players who have never played college football or a single down in the regular season. If Rico can turn it around and miraculously learn how to block well, play special teams, learn the playbook, work a lot harder than he does, and play well on game day (all things Swaim already does) then I will be happy to accept him and be happy he is a Cowboy. If you can’t help this team with everyone they are trying do on offense and special teams then you don’t belong on this team or any team for that matter and he can’t do that right now. Garret is a good coach and like it or not deserving or not it isn’t going to change and he isn’t to blame. Players are always to blame and always deserve the credit when it goes well. They are the ones who play the game and deserve all the blame and all the credit all the time.

  • Stephen L. Holley

    Start working Armstrong at linebacker!!!!!

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" 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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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.



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Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin

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Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?



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