All offseason, there’s been a buzz about the tight end group of the Dallas Cowboys. Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot showed flashes despite playing behind Dalton Schultz in 2022. Also, 2023 second-round pick Luke Schoonmaker and his underrated athleticism, and blocking ability, was supposed to add some juice to the group.
Judging by the Cowboys' 40-0 beat down of the New York Giants in Week 1, anyone just looking at the score would likely assume that quarterback Dak Prescott was slinging the ball around like crazy. Well, that wasn't the case as he only produced 143 yards, and the tight end room didn't do much to help him.
Ferguson came into the season as the new alpha at tight end in Dallas with Schultz's departure. Unfortunately, his 2023 campaign began on a down note as he caught just two of his seven targets for a pedestrian 11 yards. The real issue, however, was the two drops that Ferguson had, something that's uncharacteristic of him.
Thanks to the Cowboys' tendency to run 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends), Hendershot got 28 snaps last week. He wasn't looked at in the passing game much. However, he blew his only opportunity to gain some yardage by letting Ferguson's example rub off on him as he dropped his only target of the night.
If Ferguson and Hendershot hadn't had their drop issues, Prescott's numbers wouldn't have inflated. However, one of Ferguson's drops came deep into the Giants' territory which forced a field goal, and who knows what could have happened if that conversion was made. That drop by Hendershot would have been a touchdown.
This performance by Ferguson and Hendershot was without question just a bad day at the office. But with the Cowboys defense and special teams being so dominant, and even running back Tony Pollard producing two touchdowns, their miscues stuck out like a sore thumb.
Ferguson did have a good game in terms of blocking, so we have to give him credit on that. but as a pass catcher he certainly wants a do-over. Luckily, he and Hendershot have 16 more chances to make up for the failures of their hands in Week 1, and smart money says they will.