Dallas Cowboys: A surprising stat about Jason Witten
Although Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is in danger of posting his lowest reception total in 14 years, this unusual stat proves he deserved more targets.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is a future Hall of Famer. Witten is the franchise’s leader in receptions (1,150) and receiving yardage (12,431). He has also posted 68 receiving touchdowns, the third most in Cowboys history. Witten’s total receiving yards currently rank him 21st for the most in NFL history.
Now in his 15th season, the 35-year old Witten is slowing down a bit. In fact, with one game left to play in the 2017 regular season, the aging tight end is in danger of posting his lowest reception and yardage totals since his rookie season back in 2003. Through 15 games, Witten has recorded 61 catches for 543 yards and five scores.
Although Witten has certainly lost a step or two, his lack of production this season speaks more to the dysfunction of the Cowboys offense as a whole. Dallas struggled to find their offensive identity this year with and without star running back Ezekiel Elliott in the lineup.
The Cowboys offense is certainly a run-first team. And once they start throwing the ball, quarterback Dak Prescott has a plethora of offensive weapons to use. And sometimes that means Witten is ignored.
Still, Witten has been targeted 84 times so far this season. That’s the second most targets on the team, behind only wide receiver Dez Bryant who’s received 124 of Prescott’s targets. One troubling stat is that despite receiving 40 less targets, Witten only trails Bryant by five receptions made in 2017.
In fact, a surprising statistic was just revealed by the football analytic website, Pro Football Focus, that proves Witten should have been given more opportunities this season simply because he makes the most of them.
"“Tight end Jason Witten has seen 19 contested targets this year and has hauled in 14 of them, for a catch rate of 73.7 percent, the best mark among all skill position players with at least 15 contested targets.” – Mark Chichester, Pro Football Focus"
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The Dallas Cowboys wide receiver corps has struggled to gain separation from defenders all season. And at 35-years old, tight end Jason Witten isn’t going to beat anyone with his speed. But the savvy veteran appears to be the most successful skill player when it comes to contested targets in the entire league! When in doubt, Dak Prescott should try to find Witten more often … even if he’s not entirely open. Hey, it certainly worked for Tony Romo.