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Mailbag: Expectations For Jarwin & The TEs?


It's a big year at the tight end spot and we all want to see Blake Jarwin take control and be that guy Prescott can go to in a jam like Jason Witten was for all those years. Jarwin is looking good in camp, but how do you feel about him going forward, as well as the guys behind him? We've got some undrafted guys I haven't heard a whole lot about. — ASA ARREY / OREGON CITY, OR

Nick: Without a doubt, Jarwin is the starter and he's going to get a lot of looks. But it'll be up to him to see if he's going to be a middle-of-the-pack tight end or somebody who is on that next level. With all the weapons around him, you know he's going to get favorable matchups. But my only worry about him is how well he holds up as a blocker. And if that's not his thing, then he'll be used as more of a pass-catching tight end. There are some really good tight ends in the league that don't block much. It just hurts the team's versatility and flexibility because you know what they're going to do when they're out there. I'm anxious to see what he's going to do. The rest of the tight ends will have some role but other than Blake Bell, I'm not expecting a lot of action on offense.

Jonny: We became a little accustomed to seeing an older, slower version of Jason Witten the past few years, but I was just thinking about how Cowboys fans will probably never see a tight end like the prime version of Witten they got for about 10 years again. He really might be the best tight end ever. Jarwin simply won't ever be Witten. But one pattern of Witten's he can follow is great chemistry with his quarterback. Witten and Tony Romo were two names in the same sentence. Dak Prescott is a phenomenal quarterback. He'll extend plays and be looking for options when plays break down. Jarwin can have a lot of success just by knowing where his quarterback needs him to be in those moments.

We hear a lot of talk about how the Cowboys underachieved last year, going 8-8 with what many considered a loaded team and a weak NFC East. We are hearing a lot of the same talk this preseason about how loaded this team is, but also questions about whether they can achieve the expectations this year. So my question is this: if the four games that were losses by six points or less had been wins last year, would there be as much distrust in this team? — BRYAN SCOTT / RED LION, PA

Nick: Well, it would be a completely different team because Jason Garrett would still be the coach. You're talking about a 12-4 team and of course he's not going anywhere. So you can't exactly go there. But the foundation of your question is a good one. Yes, this was a team that nearly won more games and with better leadership, better players and coaching, that could change this year, I think they can make up some ground that was lost a year ago.

Jonny: Well, no, I think a 12-4 record last season would certainly have forced more people to trust this year's team. But that's obviously more than just bad luck. Losing to the Jets last season (by any amount of points), for example, means the trust in your title contention will take a hit. I think people in the NFL world are willing to trust Mike McCarthy, but they understandably might want to see a few games before they go out on a limb. The Cowboys could very well be everybody's bandwagon team by the end of September. But that's the kind of prediction that doesn't mean much at the beginning of September.

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