We’re just about two weeks away from the Dallas Cowboys arriving in Oxnard for training camp.
There’s a lot to be determined under the bright California sun, namely roster spots. With a few faces of the franchise gone, things are going to be shaken up quite a bit at certain positions.
One spot that highlights this idea is tight end. Jason Witten is now retired which means the tight end spots is wide open. When you bring this up with fellow Cowboys fans the responses are all over the place. Some people believe in the veteran Geoff Swaim. Others prefer the two-year player Blake Jarwin. There’s a contingency that is talking themselves into rookie Dalton Schlutz being the guy. The most relentless group though are the Rico Gathers supporters.
Rico is a question mark on the 53 right now
Gathers is entering his third season with the Cowboys and he has yet to “actually” make the 53-man roster. He spent his first year on the practice squad and spent last year on injured reserve due to an injury.
As of now, it’s honestly a question for Rico to be on the Cowboys 53-man roster. Just a few days ago here at BTB we put out eight different roster predictions, and only half of our writers had Rico on their squad.
Gathers has been working on his route running
One of the renowned gurus in the world of route running is David Robinson. Back in March we talked about how Dez Bryant was going to work with him over the offseason (he ultimately did a bit), but that is kind of something that doesn’t pertain to us anymore.
Rico has been working with David Robinson and posted some videos of his progress. You be the judge.
Training camp is only a few weeks away pic.twitter.com/TfoHTMG0Hj— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) July 10, 2018
How well Rico Gathers run routes is going to define his fate during training camp and preseason. What do you see? pic.twitter.com/PC66ReAAKD— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) July 10, 2018
This is great, but how Rico performs in the run game will matter more
Jason Garrett has been clear when it comes to Rico Gathers. Dallas Cowboys tight ends need to be able to do more than excel in the passing game, they have to be blockers as well.
This isn’t meant to be a knock against Rico for working on his craft. He should be doing this. It’s fantastic that he is. The reality on top of it all though is that he’s already shown what he can do in this aspect and the Cowboys want to see him block better.
Jason Garrett says he believes Rico Gathers' understanding of the passing game is better than his understanding of the running game.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) May 30, 2018
Garrett notes that Rico Gathers has made "a lot" of progress. Says his position is not an easy one, that he's significant in the running game and deeply involved in all aspects of the game. Notes some (route running, pass-catching) comes easy to him.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) June 12, 2018
We know Rico Gathers is a physically dominant vertical weapon in the passing game. No one has denied this. What we don’t know is how great of a run-blocker Rico is, and that’s likely going to be the difference-maker come cut time.