clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

If Dez Bryant Misses Games, Who Is Likely To Take His Snaps?

New, comments

Dallas has three tall wide receivers in Dez Bryant, Terrence Williams, and Brice Butler, and they use all three. If Dez is out, do they give more snaps to the little guys, or to Mr. Invisible, Gavin Escobar?

NFL: Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s look at the snap counts of the Dallas receiving targets over the last two games.

Against Washington, Jason Witten had 68 snaps, Dez Bryant had 57, Terrence Williams had 44, Cole Beasley 41, Brice Butler 26, Lucky Whitehead 10, Lance Dunbar 9, and Gavin Escobar 7.

Against Chicago, Witten had 68 snaps, Dez had 52, Williams 48, Beasley 30, Butler 27, Whitehead 11, Dunbar 6, Escobar 0.

If you do the math, Dallas can’t cover Bryant’s 50+ snaps with Brice Butler and Terrence Williams. Williams might bump up to take Bryant’s number, and Butler might bump up to take Williams’ snap number, but that still leaves the 26-27 snaps Butler took in the last two games to be taken by someone else.

You can’t give Jason Witten more than the 100% of snaps he’s already taking, and it’s unlikely Cole Beasley’s role will change.

Of the remaining guys, who is Dallas likely to lean on the most?

The guy with the size is Gavin Escobar, but he’s been Mr. Invisible in this offense, with only seven snaps and no targets in the last two games.

What about Geoff Swaim? Is Dallas likely to use him more as a wideout? Maybe. Swaim has had the second-most number of snaps among tight ends, with 29 and 18 snaps over the last two games, and he has had two receptions for more than 20 yards. But only one of these was a down-the-field throw.

Lucky Whitehead has received the next most number of snaps, but has no receiving targets yet, and only one jet sweep play. Is he likely to get more work? That would be a surprise.

Lance Dunbar is a running back, but had two catches for 26 yards against Washington, and can be trouble for defenses if you can get him into space on linebackers. But has he been successful lining up wide, or mostly out of the backfield?

And what about Ezekiel Elliott, who has had very few receptions so far?

It will be interesting to see what Dallas does without Dez, if he can’t play this Sunday (or beyond). While Dallas still has big targets in Williams and Butler, there have been quite a few plays where those guys are also on the field, or have given one of the other big guys a breather. Just about everyone else, other than Mr. Invisible Gavin Escobar and Geoff Swaim, is a little guy.

It will be interesting to see how Coach Linehan adapts.

What do you think?