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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 Defense So Far So Good as Seahawks Up Next

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Cowboys Defense So Far So Good as Seahawks Up Next

Dallas may only be 1-1 on the season, but the Cowboys are officially tied for first-place in the NFC East, and fresh off a workmanlike victory over divisional rivals, the New York Giants. It was a game they should have won, and did win, but the takeaways so early in the season are that, although the offense has not clicked on all cylinders, the defense is getting high praise.

The Cowboys sacked New York’s Eli Manning six times and limited the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Saquon Barkley, to a mere 28 yards rushing. It was also a night in which Dak Prescott not only out-gained Barkley by 17 yards on the ground, but torched the Giants’ secondary on a 64-yard touchdown strike to Tavon Austin which proved New York’s Safety Landon Collins wrong when leading up to this game he remarked that the key to a Giants’ victory would be getting Prescott to throw. When Prescott was made aware of the comment in a midweek interview he replied, "…challenge accepted," and the third-year veteran made good on his word leading to the 20-13 victory.

However, Prescott ended the night with just 160 yards passing yet the ankle injury he sustained in Week 1 showed no signs of rearing its head as Prescott moved seamlessly in the pocket and ran the ball well.

As we move ahead to the Cowboys meeting in Seattle, we take a quick check over to one of the most reputable online sportsbooks in the industry - Intertops according to the reviews - where we can monitor the line on this pivotal NFC clash as the week progresses.

Seattle boasts a talented quarterback of their own in Russell Wilson but one who will find the sledding tough if the Dallas defense continues to shut down All-World wide outs like Odell Beckham Jr. and contain future rushing stars like Saquon Barkley. Outside of Wilson, Seattle is not loaded offensively, with their biggest target, Doug Baldwin, ailing with a knee injury and a backfield which consists of two young rushers in second-year man Chris Carson and a first-round rookie in Rashaad Penny who dealt with nagging injuries throughout the preseason and looked unsettled in Seattle’s 27-24 loss to the Broncos.

The Cowboys defense has already proven its worth in Carolina with Cam Newton under center and again last week against New York. The unit is surrendering an average of 14 ½ points per game and is incorporating more blitz packages than we’ve come to expect.

The difference this year is that the players they have on defense are capable of getting to the quarterback quick enough so that the coverage linebackers and secondary aren’t alone on an island for too long. The one concern is the status of Linebacker Sean Lee, who checked out of the game in the fourth quarter Sunday night and brought to mind his hamstring issues of a year ago, but apparently it was in fact cramping, and not straining, of the hammy which allowed Lee to return.

The bottom line in terms of the Cowboys' upcoming matchup on Sunday afternoon is that they will get the Seahawks coming off a short week, as Seattle played on Monday night and should be relatively healthy for the contest.

Dak Prescott may not have the formidable offensive line that he has had in the past, nor a top-tier arsenal of receivers, but he does have the elusive Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield and is capable of extricating himself from pressure situations when no target is available.

If the Dallas defense continues to play at the current level, it will not only be limiting the opposition on the scoreboard but putting its offense in good field position throughout. So check out Intertops, one of the most trusted and reputable online sportsbooks, to see where this line goes because a Dallas win and an ATS cover are just days away.



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Star Blog

Taco Tuesday: Cowboys DE Taco Charlton Starting to Dominate?

Brian Martin

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Taco Tuesday: DE Taco Charlton Starting to Dominate?
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

There has been quite a bit of talk about what a bad decision it was for the Dallas Cowboys to draft Taco Charlton with their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Nearly everybody wanted someone different, not a player that needed time to develop.

Well, fast forward a year later and it looks as if the Cowboys made the right decision.

Don't look now, but Defensive End Taco Charlton is starting to live up to that first-round pedigree. In the first two weeks of the 2018 season, Charlton has already looked like a much improved player from what we saw a season ago. Imagine that, a little bit of time to develop and he's turning into a solid player.

I know I may be getting a little bit ahead of myself, especially suggesting that he is starting to dominate, but I can't help myself. I'm that excited about how much he has improved in one offseason. I may be alone here, but I have high hopes he could turn into something special.

In 2017, Taco Charlton failed to start a single game for the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie. That's not really what you want from your first-round draft pick. To makes matters worse, in 16 games he only registered 25 total tackles, four QB sacks, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble. As you can imagine, it didn't sit well with most Cowboys fans.

Luckily, it looks as if Charlton's offseason in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program has paid off. Already in 2018 he has accumulated six total tackles, one QB sack, one pass defensed, and recovered a fumble. If he keeps this pace up, we could be looking at #97 reaching double-digit sacks this year.

Taco Charlton

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton

Now, I wouldn't call what Taco Charlton has accomplished so far this season dominating, but he is proving to be a starting quality DE along the Cowboys defensive line. It's a unit that has looked really good in the first two weeks of the season and is expected to be even better once Randy Gregory and David Irving are able to return to the field.

In the meantime, the Dallas Cowboys are happy to get plays like this from Taco Charlton.

Taco Charlton Eli Manning sack

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This is a play Charlton is expected to make. He was left unblocked, but we've seen players left unblocked before not make the play. So, it may not be as impressive as some QB sacks. But, I'll take the routine tackle any day over someone trying to make a splash play and failing.

If you're looking for an impressive play from Taco Charlton, take a look at what he was able to do against Odell Beckham Jr. in the passing game.

Taco Charlton covering Odell Beckham Jr

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

In case you're wondering, that's Taco Charlton in OBJ's hip pocket 15 yards down the field in pass coverage. It looks as if that's where Eli Manning was wanting to go with the ball, but tight coverage by the Cowboys, and Charlton, across the board ended up resulting in a QB sack.

If you don't find that impressive, I don't know what will. A 275 pound DE covering arguably the best and highest paid wide receiver down the field is almost unheard of. I would count that as impressive.

What do you think of Taco Charlton's play so far in 2018?



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Star Blog

A Look Around The NFC East: Week 2

Kevin Brady

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Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

The usually competitive NFC East got off to a shaky start last week, with half the division winning their season opener and the other half falling short.

Now entering week 2, the Eagles and Redskins have a chance to begin to distance themselves from the loser of the Cowboys/Giants game, and both of those 0-1 teams are looking to "save" their season. Yes, that sounds dramatic, but a home loss within the division to fall to 0-2 could be debilitating for the Dallas Cowboys moving forward.

Regardless, let's go around the division and see what each team has on tap for this Sunday.

Philadelphia Eagles

The defending champs opened up their 2018 campaign just as we expected: with a home victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta sort of gave that game away last Thursday night, but if the Eagles can stack Nick Foles-led wins on top of each other they'll put themselves in a great spot to win the East when Carson Wentz returns.

The Eagles will be on the road this week for the first time, traveling to Tampa Bay to play the 1-0 Buccaneers. The Bucs pulled the upset of the weekend last week, defeating New Orleans 48-40. It's hard to imagine that "Fitzmagic" continuing against the vaunted Eagles defense, though.

Philly is a three point road favorite against Tampa Bay this Sunday.

Washington Redskins

My "sleeper" team in the NFC East, and pick to finish second in the division, looked rather impressive in their week one drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals. Of course, Arizona isn't a very good team, and will probably be picking top 5 in the draft next April. Still, it was a good showing for the Redskins to open the season.

Washington got Adrian Peterson going on the ground for nearly 100 yards and a touchdown, and Chris Thompson helped keep them on schedule offensively as well. Washington hasn't been talked about much this offseason, but is sitting at 1-0 with a game against the 0-1 Colts on the horizon.

Washington is a 6 point favorite against Indianapolis this Sunday, and has a good chance of starting 2-0 on the year.

New York Giants

Though we are just one week into the 2018 regular season, an important matchup is brewing within the NFC East. After falling to 0-1 with a home loss in their season opener, the Giants will travel to Texas to face the Cowboys on Sunday night football this week.

With both teams sitting at 0-1, neither can afford to put themselves into a nearly-insurmountable hole with a second straight loss. Since the merger 90% of teams who fall to 0-2 fail to make the playoffs, and it would be back-to-back seasons of missing out for both the Cowboys and Giants.

New York is a three point road underdog on Sunday, and it seems like most of the football world is leaning towards them and their weapons coming away with the victory.

Either way, this game will have massive implications on the 2018 season.



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