Jason Witten will be playing professional football in 2020 and will not be doing so for the Dallas Cowboys. It is actually kind of amazing that this isn’t even in the top five of biggest Cowboys storylines for the offseason.
Witten has migrated west towards the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cowboys are comfortable with that due to the fact that they have Blake Jarwin ready to roll. Dallas extended the athletic tight end this season and paid him like a starter in the NFL; he is now unquestioned option at tight end for America’s Team.
It is possible that with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb setting up in the opposing secondary that there might not be a ton of targets for Jarwin to take up anyway; however, the hope is obviously that he is a significant contributor to the team’s offense.
Jarwin recently sat down with the mothership to talk about everything going on this offseason and he actually addressed the subject of Jason Witten a bit. Jarwin was asked about Witten’s tendency to hold younger players accountable and whether or not he was prepared to do that himself now that he’s at the top of the depth chart.
Nick Eatman: You know, seeing him for so long, and being out at practice. He’s not afraid to chew out one of the tight ends, one of the younger guys, not doing what he’s supposed to do. So I’ll ask you two parts:
A) Were you ever on the other side of that, did he ever get after you a little bit?
B) Are you ready to take that role, is that even in your personality, if need be, have to get on some of these younger guys?
Blake Jarwin: I think that overall when he was around we did a good job of just kind of understanding that, what his level of, his standard, what he expected from all of the tight ends. And I think usually we did a good job. Now no doubt there was some times we would have some arguments, not necessarily arguments, but we would talk to each other with a little bit more of a heated tone. But it was all respect.
I never was going to tell him that he was wrong. If he told me it was definitely just a coaching point, he wasn’t telling me that I was just absolutely wrong. I think that’s just part of it. You’ve got to understand. Like I said he’s a 15-year vet so he understands what he’s talking about. And you’ve got to look at yourself and you’ve got to let your ego go and kind of understand where he’s coming from. I never once took for granted what he told me or coached me up on. I’m thankful for what he did. It’s definitely going to help me out, it’s definitely helping me out already.
And then going forward, I definitely don’t have the knowledge that he has. So I don’t know if I’ll ever step on anybody’s toes like that. But I’m excited about that. Just any little thing. We’ve got the rookies in the room so we’re kind of going over things. If I can draw out any little coaching point at all that’s my job right now, and that’s what I look forward to doing, like Witt did for me. So just carrying on that.
Witten’s return to the Cowboys last season was one of the more, um, interesting elements to the 2019 squad, there’s no question about that. Not to read too much into what Jarwin said because Witten is obviously a future HOFer, but re-introducing a dynamic like that (as in a player that nobody is going to question) to a team that was at the time coming off of rallying and winning the division was an interesting decision to say the least.
Jarwin did get paid by the Cowboys this offseason and when that happens the bar of expectations tends to rise along with it (this has already happened for Dak Prescott even though he hasn’t technically gotten his deal yet). Jarwin was asked about this idea and noted that it is his job now to justify the deal that the Cowboys gave him.
“It’s been good. To have Jerry come out and offer me something like that, him and Stephen, I’m grateful for sure. That they believe in me to kind of be the future of the tight end position here. It’s my job to now not ever be content with that. I can’t just say ‘I got a good deal, I’m good now, I can coast.’ That’s definitely not been my approach so far and it won’t be my approach in the future. Now I’ve got to push myself even harder and prove myself every single day that I deserve what they gave me. And like I said I’m grateful, but also excited for the opportunities that beholds with that.”
The fact that the Cowboys landed CeeDee Lamb obviously changed their offensive plans for 2020, and thankfully they won’t be playing in 13 personnel as much as they did under Jason Garrett. It really does seem like 11 is the place they’ll be in more often than not which will mean that Blake Jarwin will have to carry his part.