Dallas Cowboys Notes: The tight ends are becoming a problem

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 21: Tight end Blake Jarwin #89 of the Dallas Cowboys is tackled by strong safety Montae Nicholson #35 of the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter at FedExField on October 21, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 21: Tight end Blake Jarwin #89 of the Dallas Cowboys is tackled by strong safety Montae Nicholson #35 of the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter at FedExField on October 21, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

After breaking down the Dallas Cowboys game on Monday Night Football, one things is abundantly clear – the tight ends are becoming a problem.

We knew the tight end position would be a weakness when rumors of Jason Witten retiring became confirmed last April. Dallas had already lost James Hanna (TE2) and were ill-prepared to compensate for another loss to their TE group – especially a cornerstone like Witten.

But the Dallas Cowboys stuck to the script and didn’t reach in the draft to compensate. The result?

Geoff Swaim was elevated from TE3 to TE1 overnight. While his play has exceeded expectations, it’s far from average starter quality. With Swaim now set to miss anywhere from 1-3 more weeks, a bad situation just got terribly worse.

Blake Jarwin is nifty tool on specialty plays but he’s an absolute liability as a blocker. The Dallas Cowboys use their TE1 heavily as a blocker and Swaim just can’t get it done. Rico Gathers is generally worse but shows better promise. Dalton Schultz is technically the best suited for TE1, but his functional strength is lacking making him arguably the biggest liability right now. There’s simply no good options and I’m baffled the Cowboys didn’t address this before the deadline.

Six-Pack of Game Notes:

  1. Dallas had two excellent opportunities in scoring range that they came up with zero points. Brett Maher missed a 38-yard field goal and Dak threw an interception in the endzone with an open option running free elsewhere.
  2. Tyrone Crawford showed some quick pass-rush moves from the RDE spot. He’s been such a versatile and valuable player but playing the edge comes with extra responsibilities when facing a duel threat QB like Marcus Mariota. Crawford bit hard on a 3rd-and-1 handoff and let Mariota run for 12 yards. That can’t happen to a vet like Craw.
  3. The best Cowboys tight end was Jason Witten. This is both praise to Witten’s broadcasting performance as well as an indictment on the current state of the Dallas Cowboys TE corps.
  4. It was upsetting to see Alan Hurns get the start over Michael Gallup. Developing him is more important than saving face and integrating Hurns. At this point I value Gallup’s big play ability over Hurns’ inconsistent reliability (yes, that’s an oxymoron) I realize Hurns scored a game-tying TD to end the first half but he scored because of blown coverage, not because he did anything special. I’m pretty sure Joe Looney could have scored that one if he was in Hurns’ shoes.
  5. There’s a lot of nuance involved in correctly executing a pick route since there’s a fine line between legal contact and offensive interference. We saw both happen on Monday Night and understandably each had a significant impact on drives. Blake Jarwin bulldozed the man in front of him in order to free a teammate. The first down catch was negated and the once-successful play turned into a failed 3rd and 17 attempt. In the third quarter we saw a successful pick when Cole Beasley knocked Adore Jackson off Micahel Gallup on for an important drive extending 3rd down conversion. This is what we call “scheming players open” and as long as you don’t blatantly block a player and make it look like you’re trying to run a route, the refs will let you get away with it (Green Bay does this about a dozen times a week).
  6. While I’d prefer to see Randy Gregory or Taco Charlton on the field, it was nice to see Dorance Armstrong get snaps. He looked really good in training camp and appears to have a bright future ahead. Don’t sleep on this kid.

More from Dallas Cowboys

Some Dak Prescott Observations

Dak Prescott has been able to find success with limited passing yards because he’s avoided preventable turnovers. We’re seeing him press this season and as a result, he’s committing those preventable turnovers.

On Monday he fumbled a ball in his own territory all because he didn’t want to get sacked on a 3rd and 13 (a low percentage down and distance anyway). Before that we saw him toss an INT into double coverage into the Titans end zone.  In all we have seven fumbles in the past three games (five lost fumbles) and all but maybe one, were because primarily his fault. Dak is pressing to make plays and losing his most valuable quality in the process.

Then in the fourth quarter, down seven, Dak drops back scrambles to his right and opts to run out of bounds for a two yard loss (a sack) rather than throw it away. His best asset used to be decision making now I’m not sure if he has a best asset.

Love Dallas Sports? Join our team and start writing!

The one thing saving Garrett's job right now. dark. Next

Final Note

Sure would like to see a few more WR bubble screens from bunch formations and a few more Ezekiel Elliott non-screen pass patterns from this offense. Instead we’re seeing the opposite. Mixing it up would get both involved more in the game and stretch the defense in the process.

  • Published on 11/07/2018 at 13:01 PM
  • Last updated at 11/07/2018 at 12:54 PM