Dallas Cowboys: The Taco Conundrum

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 19: Taco Charlton
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 19: Taco Charlton /

The Dallas Cowboys chose Taco Charlton in the first round of this year’s NFL draft. After five weeks he has yet to make any impact, this leads to the Taco conundrum.

I’m rolling down the road this afternoon and hear Jason Garrett talking at his press conference. Of course, much of the questions were in relation to Dan Bailey and his injury. I’m mildly listening to the plans for finding a kicker for a few games and then a question catches my attention. A reporter asks Jason Garrett what he thinks about Taco Charlton’s play. His answer not only surprised me, but confused me as well.

Garrett is one of those coaches who doesn’t give you much when he answers questions. He tends to toe the company line and fills up the answer with a canned response. You can almost predict what Garrett is going to say; trust the process, he’s a character guy, he is around the ball, he is playing well for us, he’s a good player and he is getting better, so on and so on.

One thing Garrett never offers is too much information.

The only way Charlton will get better is to play

In response to the question, Jason Garrett said that Taco has been playing better and he was always around the ball. He continued to say that he needs more snaps and he needs to play more.

The first response I had was, “No! He needs less snaps and to slowly work his way into the lineup once he starts making some plays!” It seems many fans I have talked to feel the same way. Taco has thus far been not worth a first round pick. His stats are pedestrian and when compared to someone like T.J Watt, they look terrible.

Then I started thinking about the whole situation as I continued driving down 121. I had a good hour drive ahead of me and I kept running what Garrett said in my head. Then it hit me, this is a conundrum that has no right answer. Sure, some of the reason they want to play him is because he is a first round pick and they don’t want to look like they wasted the pick. However, I think there is more behind the idea.

Before you jump all over me I am playing devil’s advocate here. I still think Taco needs to slowly work into more plays, but here is what I think Jason Garrett is trying to say:

The only way Charlton will get better is to play. He needs the experience up against real players to learn how to play against them. He is a rookie after all. Sure, Taco needs to add some meat to his bones, but how is he supposed to get better if he doesn’t play?

The flip side, of course, is you want to put your best players on the field. Every team wants players out there who will make plays who can help win football games. This season Taco is not one of those players. This isn’t to say he won’t be one day, but six games into the 2017-2018 season, Taco is not the player the Dallas Cowboys need playing a ton of snaps.

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Taco should be part of the rotation. How many snaps he needs to play is the conundrum. Too many snaps without improvement means less snaps for someone who could make an impact.

Too few snaps and he can’t develop.

That is where Jason Garrett is talking from. He feels that as a first rounder Taco has the talent to play, however, probably feels like he needs the experience to get better.

The Taco conundrum is one that has been on the lips of Dallas Cowboys’ fans all season. While many feel that Taco was a wasted pick, there are still some that hold out hope for him to get better as the season wears on. Truth is, none of us know what Taco will be later in the season or even in the next few years.

Next: Dallas Cowboys: Solutions at kicker for the Injured Dan Bailey

Sure, Taco deserves to play, but how much is a guessing game that Garrett and Rod Marinelli have to figure out. Too many and it could put a much maligned defense in a worse position. Too few and the Dallas Cowboys may have wasted a draft pick. So as we go forward in the season, the Taco conundrum will be a topic. The answer is anyone’s guess and only Garrett and Marinelli have the answer.