As the preseason progresses, is tight end becoming more of a concern? After the first preseason game, it seems that it might be for the Dallas Cowboys.
Prior to the start of training camp, all of the talk surrounding the tight end position was Blake Jarwin was the favorite of the coaching staff. Geoff Swaim had the most in-game experience, and of course, fan favorite Rico Gathers was still hanging around. The Dallas Cowboys went out and drafted Dalton Schultz in the draft, and fans were ready to see how this would unfold.
After watching the first preseason game, it is clear this position group will probably have to be a committee approach to fill the huge shoes left by the retired Jason Witten. It looks like Jarwin is the primary pass catcher, Swaim is the primary blocker, and Rico is the red zone threat. Schultz looks to be a project for the upcoming seasons.
There doesn’t seem to be a complete tight end on the roster currently. Fans really want Rico to be that guy, and while he had a good blocking series against the 49ers backups, he still needs a lot of work in this area. Jarwin looked good running routes and has solid hands, but doesn’t look to be the mismatch Rico is in the red zone. Swaim is a solid blocker and will help the running game, but is not the best at getting open.
If these are the three tight ends that make the roster, whichever one is in the game could tip how the Cowboys are looking to run their offense on a given series or play. While this is a run first team, there should be plenty of Swaim in the lineup this season. But once Jarwin and Rico enter the game, teams could start to assume it will either be a pass play or the Cowboys may have to provide help for blocking.
More from Dallas Cowboys
- Dallas Cowboys Linebackers: 2023 Position Overview
- Ballhawk University: Why the Cowboys will be takeaway leaders
- Dallas Cowboys Player to Watch: Sleeper TE John Stephens, Jr.
- Dallas Cowboys: The impact of Micah Parsons and a well-rounded secondary
- Dallas Cowboys still unsure about their left guard position for 2023
Sure, the committee should be okay as a whole, but if one of them doesn’t improve in their weaknesses, it could become a problem as the season wears on. Realistically, Jarwin might be the closest currently to become a more complete tight end.
He needs to show he can be at least average in blocking. Rico has the gifts, but for whatever reason, Jason Garrett never really comments on him unless he is asked. Some of it could be his history of questionable work ethic, but when Rico is on in the passing game, he is a nightmare.
Dalton Schultz is supposedly the tight end of the future, but right now he might be headed for the practice squad unless he shows up in the next three preseason games. To be honest, none of the current tight ends are the complete answer right now. They could get there, but with only three preseason games left, the chances of them becoming the complete answer before the season is dwindling.
So what the Cowboys can do at this point is keep working on the four tight ends and hope the group works itself out by a committee approach. If they can’t do this, next offseason it could be a higher priority than what many have hoped. There is some hope, but we don’t know if one of them or all of them will pan out. Outside of Jason Witten, the development of tight ends has not been a strength of the Cowboys.
Right now Geoff Swaim is the number one tight end with Blake Jarwin holding the second slot. Rico seems to be sitting solidly at number three, but Garrett still seems to not talk about Gathers unless asked. Even if the Cowboys go into the season with these three on the roster, it may not be the strength like when Witten was here, but they should be able to get through the season at the very least.
For the next three preseason games, the tight end will be a position to watch. While many will focus on wide receiver, defensive tackle, and safety, and rightfully so. Tight end may be the biggest question mark right now. Just don’t expect another Jason Witten this season.
- Published on 08/14/2018 at 16:00 PM
- Last updated at 08/14/2018 at 03:51 AM