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Tight ends dominate in Big D

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Go figure, Bill Parcells was the coach we always associated with the tight end. Last year, many were confused when he took Anthony Fasano in the second round of the draft, especially since we had Jason Witten as our starter. Eventually it was revealed that we would go to a 2-TE base offensive formation, and there was much joy. Why? Because it justified the pick, and we bought the sales job of how it would work. But it never really worked how Parcells envisioned it and the Cowboys eventually junked the 2-TE formation last year, but they didn’t junk Fasano or the rest of the TE’s.

Flash forward to this year’s training camp in San Antonio. I reported in my practice reports and in Shango’s videos that the TE’s, especially Witten and Fasano, were catching plenty of passes and they weren’t just short dump-off patterns. The Cowboys were using Witten and Fasano 15-20 yards downfield and were slicing up the defense. Now, everybody saw that same thing play out in the Colts game. Given the Colts propensity for the Cover 2 scheme, there is usually a soft spot behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties over the middle, or if you can draw the cornerback forward, a soft spot opens up behind the corner and before the safety. The Cowboys decided they would take what the Colts were giving them, and used the Fasano and Tony Curtis as their main weapons in the aerial game.

Anthony Fasano’s emergence in camp has provided the Cowboys with another weapon at the skill positions. He allows the Cowboys to use 2-TE’s and not take away from the passing threat, while also enhancing the blocking scheme for the running game. Last year, Fasano wasn’t ready to take on such a prominent role, and the Cowboys cut-back on his play and focused on Jason Witten.

Fasano took that as a cue to work on his game; Nick Eatman details that and more in this article.

"There were parts of it that I was a little disappointed with," he said. "I still contributed but there were some weaknesses that I knew I could get better at. It was a good learning season. But I saw where some of my weaknesses were and tried to work on my lower body to get some explosion and some speed. I worked on my hips. I felt like my off-season approach is paying off already and I've been looking forward to getting back and playing again."

Not to be outdone, the DFW S-T has its own article on the tight end position and its sudden emergence over training camp and into last Thursday’s game. And before you think it stops there, almost everything out there in the Cowboys media recently has some relation to the tight end position.

Take this article in the DMN. It’s about the coaching and life bond between offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and his older brother John Garrett. And what position does John Garrett coach for the Cowboys, you guessed it - tight end.

One more for good measure. Here’s an article about Wade Phillips and how he has gained the respect of his players through soft-talkin’ and carryin’ a big stick. Camp Cupcake was interrupted by a Phillips’ tirade aimed squarely at the players taking responsibility for their situation, for their practices and their season. So you’re saying what does this have to do with the TE position? Ah, dear reader, all you have to look at it is how Phillips made his point. He cut a player who was late for curfew to set an example for the rest of the team. And who was that player? Andy Thorn. Another tight end contributes to the Cowboys 2007 season!