There is no dispute that the Dallas Cowboys are experiencing a rebirth of running success which has in turn led to overall success on the playing field. That is a good thing, nobody will dispute this fact. The one player who is feeling a negative impact on his own personal success is Gavin Escobar. As the Cowboys have ramped up the running plays, Escobar has seen his own usefulness to the team decline. In the victory over the Houston Texans Escobar was limited to only four offensive snaps.
Coming out of San Diego State, Gavin was known for his abilities as a receiver. In the Aztec offense he was seldom called upon to serve as an additional offensive lineman. As a result blocking skills are a prime weakness in Escobar's game. He is working to perfect his technique and to strengthen his body to meet the needs of an NFL level blocking tight end, but he is not there at this point in time.
"There are some things we think he does better than James Hanna. There are some things James Hanna does better than he does. We try to give those guys opportunities to do what they do best when they are in those two-tight-end packages. We have done some three-tight-end stuff up to this point. He is a good player and he is getting better. And he is working hard at it. He will get opportunities as we go forward." - Jason Garrett
One of the things, perhaps the key thing, that Hanna does better is block. Playing behind Jason Witten is going to limit any tight end's opportunities, and with his counterpart back up getting the majority of the snaps, Escobar is beginning to look more and more like the odd man out. In many eyes he is already being viewed as a wasted selection. The less he is able to contribute, the more plausible this view becomes. At some point Dallas is going to have to make a decision. Is the future of the tight end position in Dallas going to be as a blocker or a receiver. If the current offensive philosophy continues to bear fruit, the answer will become more and more obvious. When push comes to shove the blocker will win out.
For the second-year player it is a challenge to stay patient.
"I guess it's tough to be patient. You got to take advantage of your opportunities when your name is called, and that's what I'm trying to do." - Gavin Escobar
The question is, "Will he even get the opportunity if the Cowboys continue to experience success on the ground?"