Jason Witten has been grabbing all the Dallas Cowboys headlines but Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz may be the real keys to success at the TE position.
The Dallas Cowboys didn’t get much from the tight end position last season. After James Hanna retired and Future Hall of Famer, Jason Witten, left them high and dry, it was up to career TE3 Geoff Swaim and a trio of non-pedigreed newbies to get the job done. As such, the decline in production shouldn’t be surprising.
Before Blake Jarwin exploded for three touchdowns in Week 17, the Dallas Cowboys tight end position was a desert in the explosive play department. Dak Prescott targeted the tight position 88 times, yet the unit only provided one measly TD prior to the season finale.
Dalton Schultz began his Dallas Cowboys career physically outmatched. The tight end from Stanford was noticeably lean and often thrown around at the point of contact. Too weak to reliably beat his opponents in the blocking game and too inexperienced to reliably be a target in the passing game, Schultz struggled early as a rookie.
But as the season progressed so did Dalton. He was still physically too small to be the blocker Dallas wanted him to be, but he improved technique and better understood assignments. His improvement is really undebatable and his future as an all-around TE2 looks bright. In training camp, the increased strength is apparent. He’s still likely a year from being starter quality, but the potential is there.
Blake Jarwin offers a much different skill set than Schultz. Jarwin is a pass-catcher first and foremost. As we discussed earlier, Jarwin is the one Dallas TE with star potential. Those days are behind Jason Witten. And Dalton Schultz just doesn’t have the kind of ceiling, but the sky is the limit for Jarwin.
How important is Witten?
Jason Witten may be more important than we think in the development of Dalton and Blake. Witten has been an ironman throughout his NFL career. He never misses games. He never misses snaps. He’s been a godsend to the Dallas Cowboys.
He’s also been nightmare for his fellow tight ends.
The Dallas Cowboys have been trying to develop TEs behind Witt for some time now. First was Anthony Fasano, then Martellus Bennett, then Gavin Escobar. Each was second round pick. And each was a bust with the Cowboys.
But after leaving the shadow of Witten, the first two thrived with their new teams. While Marty B was a pain in the donkey and certified knucklehead, he was also a Pro Bowler. All he needed was the opportunity and Dallas never found a way to provide that to him alongside Witten.
Talk has centered on Jason Witten’s reduced snaps this season. Count me among the “I’ll believe it when I see it” crowd. Even if he does sit out more plays, there’s no way of knowing he’ll actually mentor anyone. He’s been long known as someone who wasn’t eager to mentor his fellow TE teammates.
Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz have a chance to develop and really vault this TE corps from average to above average if they develop like we hope they will. But it’s going to take good coaching to make a TE2 produce in this offense (an offense that rarely makes productive TE2s). It’s also going to take cooperation from #82 himself.
Reasons for optimism – With Witten focused on coaching as the next step in his career, it’s finally in his best interests to help develop the stable behind him. Coupled with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, the stage could be set for something good to happen in 2019. Are you optimistic?
- Published on 08/14/2019 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 08/14/2019 at 09:15 AM