Cowboys Gavin Escobar Lingering in Jason Witten's Shadow

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Jun 17, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight ends Jason Witten (82) Gavin Escobar (89) James Hanna (84) and Jordan Najvar (87) during minicamp at Cowboys headquarters at Valley Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 17, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight ends Jason Witten (82) Gavin Escobar (89) James Hanna (84) and Jordan Najvar (87) during minicamp at Cowboys headquarters at Valley Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

For ten years tight end Jason Witten has been the Dallas Cowboys go-to man. Receiver Dez Bryant may be the man with the X factor. Quarterback Tony Romo makes the headlines as the man many love to hate. Witten is often lost in the sports pages, but never on the field. Mr Reliable has long been a key component of the Cowboys offense. He can block, he can run, he gets the first downs, he fights for touchdowns. How many times have we seen the Romo to Witten pass when all seems lost? The Cowboys without Witten is a heinous thought. Now aged 32 many are predicting 2014 will see the warrior Witten begin to regress. But what do Witten’s statistics tell us?

Jason Witten Career Receiving Statistics

Year
Games
Games Started
Receptions
Yards
Yards per Reception
Touchdowns
2003157353479.91
200416158798011.36
200516166675711.56
200616156475411.81
2007161696114511.97
200816168195211.84
20091616941030112
2010161694100210.079
201116167994211.95
2012161611010399.43
201316167385111.78
statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
  • Last season saw Witten have 73 receptions- his lowest since 2006.
  • With eight touchdowns in 2013 Witten was just one shy of matching his career high of nine.
  • 2012 was arguably his golden year, yet Witten’s yards per reception have remained remarkably consistent throughout his time in Dallas.

Statistically there’s nothing to be radically concerned about. Although Witten’s number of receptions declined this can be attributed to Romo picking out Dez Bryant more. To see 88 take some weight off of Witten is a sign of maturity on Dez’s part. As the number one receiver who’s improved year upon year we ought to see a return on Romo’s attempts to find him.

Dez is the future of this team after all. Tony Gonzalez one of the finest tight ends to play the game retired last year aged 37. Could Witten perform for another five years? Managed correctly and barring any major injury, there’s no reason Witten can’t continue for at least another couple of years at his present standard. Beyond that remains to be seen. Has Jerry Jones turned over a new leaf in doing away with the aging players in favor of the young rookies? Again, that remains to be seen.

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