In previous seasons, the tight end was a major security blanket. You need four yards? The tight end gets you five. Dalton Schultz. Jason Witten. Last year it was the four tight ends. Where are they this year? Is it scheme? Or is it that no one has stepped up? – Dennis Thrasher/Port Orchard, WA
Nick Eatman: I'm sorry but I feel a little uneasy putting Schultz and Witten in the same sentence like that. Yeah, they were both tight ends but just not at all at the same level. But I get your point, but the Cowboys decided to move on from Schultz and even when his price tag dropped in free agency, they had no real interest in bringing him back. I think he was a solid player but it did take him a couple of years to find his groove as well. I think if we give the same patience to Jake Ferguson (also a fourth-round pick), he'll be just as good if not better. Schoonmaker doesn't get as much grace because he was a second-round pick. So far, he hasn't been as impressive as the Cowboys would've hoped but injuries in the offseason and training camp has slowed his progress. He's a really big guy who will help this team at some point. I'm not really as worried about this position. If the receivers continue to make progress and prove to be weapons, the tight ends will open up.
Kurt: The tight ends are definitely a work in progress and admittedly don't seem to be the security blanket they've been in the past. But Dalton Schultz averaged 3.8 catches for 38.5 yards per game last season with a catch percentage of 64 percent. So far this season, Jake Ferguson is averaging 3.5 catches for 31.7 yards with a catch percentage of 72.4 percent. Schultz also averaged 6.5 yards per target in 2022 with 47.4 percent of his receptions going for first downs. In 2023, Ferguson is at 6.6 and 42.8, respectively. In addition, Pro Football Focus has Ferguson ranked as the 10th best tight end in the league with a 70.1 grade. Last year, Schultz was given a 67.8 grade. So the numbers would suggest that there hasn't been a big decline in production. But it still seems like it, doesn't it? Part of that is the struggles of the tight ends behind Schultz. Luke Schoonmaker, Peyton Hendershot, who has been injured, and Sean McKeon have two catches combined and four drops. Ferguson has three more drops himself. That's not going to cut it. So maybe Dak Prescott doesn't have full confidence in the group just yet. Or maybe his reads within the play design have him looking elsewhere. Whatever the case, throw in the tight ends' struggles at times blocking in the run game and this is a position group the Cowboys really need to see become a more potent part of the team's offense.