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Sunday, May 25, 2014
Mike Pope gets adjusted to the Cowboys

By Calvin Watkins

IRVING, Texas -- Mike Pope has known East Rutherford, N.J. for 14 seasons. Pope was the New York Giants’ tight ends coach, but after he was let go this offseason, coach Jason Garrett jumped at the chance to hire him.

So how is Pope doing as the new tight ends coach?

“I know MacArthur Boulevard,” he said smiling of the main street about four blocks from the Cowboys Valley Ranch complex. “Its south of this complex and that’s where I’m living presently.”

While Pope gets to learn the Valley Ranch area, he’s also learning about the projected tight ends on his 53-man roster: Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and James Hanna.

“I feel like I’ve fallen off the turnip truck and landed into with Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar and James Hanna,” Pope said. “Those are the three guys who picked me up.”

Pope had nothing but praise for Witten, a nine-time Pro Bowler, who is considered one of the top tight ends in the league.

“It’s always good to have a model, particularly for your younger players and as we bring this group into here,” Pope said of Witten. “His picture of running a route is an hour of classwork for me that’s how you do it. You simply mirror that player, you will be right.”

Pope said he was impressed with Escobar and Hanna two younger tight ends who each have unique abilities. Hanna is more of pass catching tight end and Hanna is a better blocker with the ability to run good routes as well.

“I’ve admired the quality of players who have been here and we’ve had a lot of good games against each other,” Pope said, referring to his time with the Giants. “Most if not all of them came down to the fourth quarter. Jerry Jones, as an owner, has the passion and gives you the opportunity to give you a good team.”