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What's Next For TE: Who Handles The Dirty Work?


FRISCO, Texas – As always, this is the uncertain time of the year.

Roughly one-third of NFL rosters turn over every offseason as each club looks for ways to improve its fortunes moving forward. The Cowboys are no different, as they'll face many tough decisions in the coming months.

With that in mind, we're evaluating each position on the roster and what choices face the front office in 2021. Part 5 focuses on the tight ends. Today's entry:

What About The Blocking Duties?

Wednesday we covered the projected Blake Jarwin/Dalton Schultz duo with Jarwin on his way back from last year's ACL injury. Both are proven pass-catchers. Jarwin is only the second tight end in franchise history to catch three touchdown passes in one game. Last year, Schultz became only the fifth Cowboys tight end to catch 50 passes in a season.

What about the less glamorous part of the job?

Blake Bell came to Dallas last year with more of the "blocking tight end" tag, and the "Belldozer" did handle some of the dirty work in pass protection and the running game. Bell is set to be an unrestricted free agent in March, so it remains to be seen if he'll be back in a similar role.

Jarwin and Schultz might be known best for what they do in the passing game, but it's worth noting that Schultz played nearly 85% of the offensive snaps last season, assisting the Cowboys' banged-up offensive line, and drew praise for developing into a well-rounded player.

"His blocking just continued to improve throughout the season," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "Obviously I wasn't here last year, but I can't say enough about the progress that he made throughout the year: his yards after the catch, breaking tackles, very savvy in the passing game, has a great understanding of everything we're doing in the run protection and pass."

It's an area that Jarwin surely will focus on improving once he gets back on the field. The Cowboys also have Sean McKeon, an undrafted rookie last season who did a nice job on special teams and limited offensive snaps (64 in 14 games).

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