In this chapter of Film Room, we’re diving into the archives of tight end Jason Witten.
The Cowboys offense came into 2018 without two of its long-time fixtures in wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten. They managed to replace Bryant by trading for Amari Cooper midseason, but the loss of Witten was still felt.
Despite his age, Jason Witten coming out of retirement could be huge for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense. This is particularly true with wide receiver Cole Beasley leaving in free agency.
It is somewhat cliché that the best friend of a young quarterback is a reliable tight end and Witten certainly provided Prescott with a safety blanket early in his career.
In Week 2 of the 2017 regular season, the Cowboys found themselves in 2nd and 16. Some people question the value of staying ahead of downs and getting into manageable third down situations, but a team never wants to be in 3rd and 16. Prescott finds Witten over the middle for a gain of 10. This sets up a 3rd and 6 that is easily converted when Prescott throws the ball to Witten yet again, for a gain of seven on a quick out.
These are timing routes that allow the Cowboys to move the chains and keep the offense on the field. Prescott’s trust in Witten to be where he is supposed to be and make the tough catch will pay dividends for the Cowboys in 2019.