After the Dallas Cowboys preseason debut in San Francisco you likely had a lot of thoughts.
It’s possible that one of your thoughts was one of the many that we’ve had here at BTB in the aftermath. We have takeaways, things you may have missed, and tons of other stuff, but there isn’t - and more importantly, wasn’t - some of what seemingly everybody wants - Rico Gathers.
If you felt that Rico didn’t play a lot you were right. Offensively he played the least of all the tight ends save for David Wells and, with no disrespect intended for Mr. Wells, that’s not saying much.
Blake Jarwin - 34
Dalton Schultz - 27
Geoff Swaim - 18
Rico Gathers - 16
David Wells - 5
Geoff Swaim didn’t play a whole lot on offense either, but it’s not like his spot on this team is in jeopardy by any means. Rico Gathers is definitely on the bubble and the preseason is theoretically going to be where he makes or breaks things.
It’s important to note that this is just the first game of the preseason and that snap counts from it don’t tell all or even a big chunk of any story with regards to the Cowboys; however, they can definitely tell us a lot. In fact, consider the offensive snap counts from the first preseason game of 2017 (Week 1 in Los Angeles, not the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game) and how Rico fared.
Rico Gathers - 33
Blake Jarwin - 21
Geoff Swaim - 19
Connor Hamlett - 13
Look at that. It’s kind of amazing.
Rico Gathers was the most-used tight end on the Dallas Cowboys during the first preseason game a year ago and this season he was the fourth-most used. Both Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim were given more offensive opportunities than him despite Rico out-snapping them a year ago, and even the rookie Dalton Schultz was utilized far more.
It’s true that Jarwin and Swaim have actual NFL game experience that Rico doesn’t and that this could be why they were prioritized, but it’s not like that matters in preseason games. And even if it did, that would put Schultz further behind the eight ball than Rico, so to speak. Again, snap counts aren’t the end-all-be-all, but this data - when measured against the same of a year ago - would seemingly corroborate what many have thought for a long time now... Rico has fallen on the totem pole of priorities.
It has seemed like Rico could be riding through his last preseason as a member of the Cowboys and this doesn’t exactly dispel that thought. Maybe he’ll get more work throughout the remaining three weeks of the exhibition period, but for now it looks like he’s a bit of an afterthought.