Dallas Cowboys: What a successful season looks like for Jason Witten
Dallas Cowboys legend and future HOF’er Jason Witten is back from retirement for a 16th pro season. What would define a successful season for the all-timer?
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is what is known around NFL circles as an iron man. Out of a possible 240 career games across 15 seasons, Witten has played in 239 of them. His one missed game was a result of a broken jaw. He has started an incredible 229 games, with eight of those non-starts coming during his rookie season.
For his career, Witten has a total of 1,620 targets and 1,152 receptions, to give him a career catch percentage of 71.1 percent. He has racked up a total of 12,448 receiving yards, 68 total touchdowns across his 15 seasons, and has been the consummate pro throughout his entire career.
Witten is an 11-time Pro Bowler and a two-time NFL All-Pro, while also having been crowned the 2012 Walter Payton Man of the Year, which honors excellence on and off the field. These were all accolades accomplished by a guy who was just a third-round pick, the fifth pick of the third round to be precise.
In his last season with the Dallas Cowboys before his brief retirement, the 2017 season, Witten went for five touchdowns, 560 yards, and 63 receptions on 87 targets. He caught over 72 percent of his targets on his way to his 11th Pro Bowl appearance, and first since the 2014 season. With that season’s performance in mind, what would define success for the future Hall Of Famer in his comeback season?
In general, a successful season would be one in which he keeps his streak and iron man reputation alive by playing in all 16 games of the season for the Dallas Cowboys. If he starts at least half of those games, where there is a great possibility he could start in them all, that would solidify it from a general perspective.
Statistically speaking, this is when it becomes a bit dicier. If you look back at that last season, coming close to those numbers would definitely be a success, but he doesn’t necessarily have to hit or surpass them in order to qualify as a success either.
At 560 yards in 2017, if he managed to amass 400-450 over the season after taking one complete season off and being 37 years old, that would be a success. At 63 receptions in 2017, if he caught between 48-55 balls minimally, that would be a success. When it comes to the five touchdowns he accrued in 2017, between three and five touchdowns would qualify as a success in this upcoming season.
While there are many areas that he should be a huge help in, including blocking and chain moving scenario’s, the red zone is where he has and should continue to be the most impactful. Looking at his touchdown count from his past few seasons won’t exactly scream that fact, but even if he isn’t the one catching the pass, he always has to be given attention which inevitably may free up another receiver or running room for Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott.
These are the factors and/or stats necessary in order for Jason Witten’s comeback season to qualify as a successful one, and there should be quite the optimism that he will do so or possibly even exceed these figures. For what it’s worth, some including head coach Jason Garrett thinks the time off may have helped him “freshen” up a bit.
Whatever the case may be, we will all be watching and hoping he still has it. The rest of the Dallas Cowboys are certainly hoping for the same thing.