The Dallas Cowboys have had a busy 2015 offseason. But very little has been discussed about the possibility for a breakout offensive weapon this year.
Between free agency, the draft, and ongoing contract issues; there have been a plethora of debatable topics that seem like photo copies of one another. Case in point are the never-ending articles being used to debate if the Cowboys are going to improve on the defensive side of the ball.
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I agree that the Boy’s defense is an important subject and deserves conversation. But what won the division for America’s Team in 2014 was it’s offense. The Cowboys ability to put up points when needed was the most valuable asset on this team.
Therefore I have a prediction for the upcoming season: Dallas’ passing game will be discussed and glorified more than the potent ground game was last year. This belief is built on a number of reasons.
But I think one Dallas Cowboy player in particular could erupt on the scene to help make my prediction become a reality as a breakout offensive weapon. Enter third-year tight end Gavin Escobar.
Escobar was selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of San Diego State. Like many other Cowboy fans, I was left scratching my head after his selection due to Dallas’ other, more pressing needs.
To date, the speculation has been that the second-string tight end has been underutilized and could possibly be considered a bust. And the numbers support those assumptions so far, as Escobar has recorded only 18 total receptions and six touchdowns in his first two seasons in Dallas.
But to understand what makes Escobar’s special, you first have to look at his physical attributes. Standing 6-6 and weighing 260 pounds, with great hands and quick feet, the tight end’s physical tools make him a perfect redzone target.
This is the season I believe all our questions and concerns about Escobar come to a screeching halt. And the reason why is simple: Dallas Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo is participating in his first full training camp since Escobar was drafted.
This is huge for Escobar and will allow him an opportunity to gain some much-needed chemistry with Romo under center at training camp. With the veteran quarterback coming into the season healthy and mobile, the coaching staff will have more confidence to rely on the passing game, which in turn will open up more opportunities for the young tight end.
Mix that in with the Cowboys offense needing to lean more on the passing game while their running back situation develops, and you have a recipe for a breakout offensive playmaker.
It will be up to Escobar to prove he’s ready for the challenge by taking advantage of his time with Romo. He alluded to as much in a recent interview with Dallas Cowboys.com staff writer David Helman.
"“We have a lot of weapons on this team, so you’ve really got to take advantage of your opportunities and hope they’ll keep coming once they do come.”"
One question about Escobar’s play has been his lack of blocking ability in the running game. However, with three years under his belt to improve and mature into a NFL run blocker, he will have his chance to prove that he is prepared to do what it takes to succeed.
"“Just being consistent in the run game – that’s something from Day 1 that I’ve really had to show coaches that I can do,” Escobar continued. “That’s something that I still work on every day,” he said. “Working on my routes, getting open, creating separation – just being consistent all through, being a consistent player and making plays.”"
The stars have all but aligned for Escobar as the upcoming season gets ready to kickoff. We will see if he can live up to his true potential and cement his status as the breakout offensive weapon I believe he can be in Dallas.