IRVING, Texas – The lack of work for tight end Gavin Escobar in the opener came as a surprise, even to him.
Escobar, the Cowboys' 2013 second-round pick, played just nine snaps and had one target in the loss to the 49ers.
"Yeah, I was expecting to play more," Escobar said. "I always want to be on the field as much as possible, but we got in a hole early."
Escobar injured his shoulder during the preseason and is wearing extra padding to prevent further injury, but the shoulder hasn't forced him to miss much time. He said that wasn't bothering him and didn't contribute to the lack of snaps, and head coach Jason Garrett commended Escobar's ability to bounce back from that injury.
"Gavin had the shoulder injury over the last couple of weeks of the preseason, so he didn't play as much toward the end of the preseason as we would have liked and did a good job getting himself back," Garrett said.
The Cowboys quickly found themselves in a 21-3 hole in the game, but even when the Cowboys went to two-tight end sets, it was mostly James Hanna joining Jason Witten on the field. Hanna played four more snaps than Escobar.
Of the offensive players to go on the field, only Lance Dunbar, Jermey Parnell and Tyler Clutts had fewer snaps. Dwayne Harris equaled Escobar's nine.
Garrett said there were more plays planned for Escobar, and he attributed Escobar's minor impact to the quick deficit.
"When you get behind like that, you get into more of a three wide receiver mode and that's what we did," Garrett said. "But Gavin has developed well, both as a run blocker and certainly as a receiver over the last year or so, and we anticipate more action for him as the year goes on."