With Jason Witten now retired, the Dallas Cowboys have a youthful group of tight ends, but they need to find a way to use this particular player.
When the future Hall of Famer unexpectedly retired on May 3rd of this year, the Dallas Cowboys were left without a proven player to fill the big shoes left by Witten.
You can’t blame Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones for running around like a chicken with its head cut off because of Witten’s sudden retirement. But after several weeks to ponder this situation, the Cowboys have to find the right player(s) to replace Witten’s production.
As of right now, the Cowboys have Geoff Swaim, Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin, and rookie Dalton Schultz as the tight ends on their depth chart. Gathers is the one buried deep on the depth chart and could be the on the outside looking in when the season begins.
With Gathers athletic ability, it seems absurd that he might not make the 53-man roster. Instead of the Cowboys making that mistake, Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan should use Gathers athleticism to its full advantage.
For the Cowboys’ fans who have forgotten about Gathers upside, the former Baylor basketball star played outstanding last preseason. Big boy Rico scored two touchdowns in only two games for the Cowboys, but it was his skill set, his height advantage, and the way he caught the touchdown passes that was so impressive.
Finally, Dallas had their heir apparent to Witten, and it was a player that could catch the ball and not get caught from behind like Witten.
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The 6’6, 285 mountain of a man exhibited his potential as a lethal receiving threat. The future looked bright and explosive for Dallas’ offense.
But after taking a hard hit in practice from safety Kavon Frazier, Gathers suffered a severe concussion and was put on IR for the entire season. Since Dallas could’ve put Gathers back on the 53-man roster, they kept him on IR. Absolutely ridiculous!
That’s why Dallas must use Gathers skill set and give him every opportunity to showcase his talents like he did back in the summer of 2017. After watching film of his preseason performances, I’m more than a believer that he can be Dallas’ number one receiver, let alone tight end.
With so much potential, Dallas owes Gathers that much of an opportunity to prove himself. Or at least see if he can perform at the same level of 2017.
Besides, there is a small sample size of game film on Swaim. Although Swaim is further ahead than Gathers in the terms of the verbiage of the playbook, he didn’t show anything close to what Gathers has done on the field.
Maybe Gathers isn’t the complete tight end like Witten was or like the others on the roster, but who cares if he can haul in 10 receptions a game, score two touchdowns and gain over 100 receiving yards?
The Dallas fan base won’t care, and neither will Garrett and company; and since Garrett will probably be on the hot seat entering the 2018 season, he needs as many offensive weapons as possible to win games.
The Dallas Cowboys have to give Rico one more chance and use him to the best of his abilities.