DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
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Fri., Mar. 06, 2015 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM CST
Fri., Mar. 06, 2015 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM CST
Witten, Smith Named To USA Football All-Fundamentals Team
IRVING, Texas -- Jason Witten and Tyron Smith were selected to the USA Football All-Fundamentals Team on Wednesday morning. The team honors 26 NFL players who exhibit exemplary football techniques for youth football players to emulate.
The All-Fundamentals team, which is in its fifth year, honors 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players and four special teams players. Smith was selected alongside Chicago Bears tackle Jermon Bushrod as the team’s offensive tackles.
Smith’s ability to gain depth and cut off edge rushers to protect his quarterback lands him on the All-Fundamentals Team. With active hands ready to punch out at oncoming rushers, he keeps a low center of gravity to maintain balance and maneuverability.
Witten has remained a premiere tight end because of his textbook pass-catching form of looking the ball into his hands. Keeping his head up and eyes following the path of the ball, he uses proper hand and finger placement to catch the pass and secure the ball.
The full roster of the All-Fundamentals team features Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, 49ers running back Frank Gore, Packers fullback John Kuhn, Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Bengals receiver A.J. Green, Witten, Bushrod and Smith, Saints guard Jahri Evans and Titans guard Andy Levitre and Chargers center Nick Hardwick.
The defense features Rams defensive end Chris Long and Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji and Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly and Colts linebacker Robert Mathis. The secondary features two Seahawks in cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas, as well as Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes and Chiefs safety Eric Berry.
The special teamers are Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt, Vikings return man Cordarrelle Patterson and Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos.
Each player chosen for the All-Fundamentals Team will receive a $1,500 equipment grant from USA Football to donate to the youth or high school football program of his choice. USA Football, the sport’s national governing body in the United States, is the official youth football development partner of the Cowboys, the NFL and each of the league’s other 31 teams.
A five person selection committee of Charles Davis, Herm Edwards, Merril Hoge, Carl Peterson and Bill Polian assembled this year’s All-Fundamentals team.
Davis, currently a football analyst with the NFL Network and FOX Sports, played the only year of his NFL career with the Cowboys. Edwards, Hoge, Peterson and Polian have spent decades working in and around the NFL – Edwards as a former player and coach, as well as a current analyst, Hoge as former player and current analyst, Peterson as a former general manager and Polian as a former general manager and a current analyst.
A fan vote will determine All-Fundamentals Team captains at www.facebook.com/usafootball. Fans may vote for one captain on offense, defense and special teams. USA Football will award each of the three captains a $3,000 equipment grant to donate and an All-Fundamentals Team helmet trophy. Voting is open through Jan. 29.