The Dallas Cowboys offense took a tremendous punch to the gut last offseason. Unexpectedly, veteran tight end Jason Witten decided he wanted to exit the playing field for the booth. Witten abruptly retired and joined the Monday Night Football crew. With him joining the Monday Night Football team, he officially sent the Cowboys into scramble mode at the tight end position. While Witten was living out his television dreams, the Cowboys were doing auditions during games to see who would take over their tight end position permanently – they never found anyone to take over that position all season despite making the playoffs and were more than likely going to look at that position this offseason. To everyone’s surprise, Witten decided his retirement from the game was only for a year, deciding to come back to Dallas on a one-year, $3.5 million deal.
The comeback from Witten immediately upgrades the tight end position for the Cowboys. He can still block and he can still run routes. The thing about Witten is he isn’t a speed guy. He has mastered the art of positioning his body and screening people off. And with the hands to make catch after catch with precision and ease, Witten surely makes life easer for Dak Prescott. Without Witten, the Cowboys passing game was even more limited before they got Amari Cooper. Now with Witten paired with Cooper, the Cowboys have a reliable set of hands in Witten and a speedster in Cooper. If they are able to add another wide receiver alongside these two, then you could see the Cowboys passing game grow a little bit more, especially since they have never had a guy as fast as Cooper.
Along with the Cowboys having another reliable weapon, Dallas also has someone that can help them sustain drives. Dallas was not horrible on third downs last season, converting on 41.4% of those tries, but they can be better with Witten. More times than not, they depended on Dak to make something happen in the passing game with limited weapons. Unfortunately, if it wasn’t a short conversion, it wasn’t as successful a try. With Witten, he has a just has a knack for getting open on third downs. And with his sure hands, he will make the Dallas offense more effective in different downs and distances.
The Cowboys went from having to figure out their issues to know one that is solved at least for one year. Witten may have been off for a year, but he still is the best tight end on the current Cowboys team. With his skill and football acumen, it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to physical demands of playing the game again. One person that will surely be happy to see him again will be Dak Prescott, who can use as many weapons as possible.
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