Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Training Camp Preview - Part 3 - Tight Ends

Another position with no concerns heading into the season is tight end. Jason Witten is arguably the best all-around tight end in the NFL, Martellus Bennett is developing into a well-rounded complement, and John Phillips was drafted for depth at the position. The plan appears to be running more two tight end sets to get Bennett and Witten on the field together as much as possible. It certainly makes sense considering how talented they both are. There really isn't going to be much of a battle during camp but here is what I will be looking for.

Jason Witten - There isn't much that Jason needs to work on to improve his game. What makes him great is that he believes he still has a long way to go to be a complete player. He will be working hard a striving for perfection in every aspect of his game. I hope his work ethic and desire rubs off not only on Bennett and Phillips, but also the rest of the team. I would like to see Jason stepping into more of a leadership role this year during training camp. In my mind it is up to Tony Romo and Jason Witten to be the leaders of the offense this year.

Martellus Bennett - I'll be very interested to see how Bennett performs during camp this year. I know he has great talent as a receiver but my bigger concern is whether he can handle sealing off the end of the line on runs out wide to his side. If he can do the job then Felix Jones is going to be a dangerous weapon in the double tight end set because the defense won't be able to cheat to one side of the field. I am also very anxious to see if Bennett is ready to put in the hard work needed to make the most of his talent. I'm no fan of his off field antics, but I can ignore that stuff if he is working hard like he should be. I know he is very young but I am worried that he is more concerned with being the cool, funny guy than being a great football player.

John Phillips - I haven't seen much of this guy except for the few highlights I could find on YouTube. Most of the scouting reports rated him as a good receiving tight end, but a sub par blocker coming out of Virginia. He is going learn very quickly how important his footwork and technique are for blocking at the NFL level. I hope that the coaches and especially Jason Witten can get him going in the right direction. It will be interesting to see if he can develop into the blocker the Cowboys will need him to be. He is also going to be expected to contribute on special teams, so his hustle and desire are going to be exposed. If he develops into even a decent player then the Cowboys have absolutely no concern, barring injury, at the tight end position heading into the season.

Heading into the 2009 season, the Cowboys are set at tight end. With Jason Witten and Martellus Bennet the Cowboys have the best tandem of tight ends in the NFL. I hope that Jason Garrett can find ways to get both of these guys involved in the offense because they are both capable of making big plays.

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