Friday, February 21, 2014
Jason Witten isn't losing any playing time
By Calvin Watkins
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was asked an interesting question at the NFL scouting combine regarding Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar.
Garrett was asked whether Escobar would challenge Witten for playing time in 2014.
"Well, I don't know about that," Garrett said. "Witt's a great football player and has been for a long time, a Pro Bowler again last year. In my opinion, our opinion, the best tight end in football and has been for decades. Witt's certainly going to be a big part of what we do with our offensive football team. But that doesn't mean Gavin can't be more involved."
Sometimes you forget how solid a player Witten is because of the flash of Dez Bryant and the potential of Terrance Williams. Witten has been an elite tight end for a long time and the only negative you can find with him is he's an average blocker.
But why would the Cowboys curtail his playing time for Escobar?
When the Cowboys drafted Escobar last year, their goal was to use him in a two-tight-end set. He was more of a pass-catching tight end than anything else. He needed to work on his frame, weight wise, so he could become a better blocker. James Hanna was a better tight end than Escobar because of his experience (two years).
As the season progressed, Escobar received more playing time and caught a touchdown pass in the regular-season finale against Philadelphia.
"I think we saw more of him as the year went on and on, as he got more and more acclimated to our style of offense and playing the game at this level," Garrett said. "And he made some great strides for us. If you look back at his tape and the opportunities he was given, he was very productive with the challenges he got. So we gave him more and more as the season went on and he responded well. We expect a big jump from Gavin this offseason."
The Cowboys do need to make sure Escobar gets on the field more, but not at the expense of Witten.