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DMN: Cowboys TE Rico Gathers thinks this offseason move will take him from absorbing blows to delivering them

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  • DMN: Cowboys TE Rico Gathers thinks this offseason move will take him from absorbing blows to delivering them

    Cowboys TE Rico Gathers thinks this offseason move will take him from absorbing blows to delivering them
    By Jori Epstein , Staff writer

    FRISCO - Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers knows he needs to keep improving his grasp of technique and blocking to make Dallas' 53-man roster come fall.

    He needs to show head coach Jason Garrett he can perform as more than just an athletic college basketball star with hands who caught two touchdowns in two preseason games last year.



    After slimming to 265 ahead of last season, Gathers said he's back up to 282, the weight range he played basketball at in college.

    "Last year was a big adjustment," Gathers said Wednesday from the Cowboys' last OTA session. "I was going for more trying to be quicker, trying to be faster. But that hurt me in the blocking game a lot where I felt like I was just a body, just a body catching a blow."

    Now practicing at 282, Gathers said, he's still agile. He played efficiently at that size while with Baylor, muscling his way to 11.2 points and nine boards a game in 2015-16. As a junior in 2014-15, Gathers was named to the Big 12 all-defensive team after averaging 11.6 boards, 1.0 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.

    "I see it no different with me being on the field," Gathers said.

    His strength and size will be advantages, not deterrents.

    "That was the biggest thing I brought to Baylor was that element of size and toughness," Gathers said. "When I was on the floor, everyone knew man, [expletive], it's about to be tough down here."

    Gathers hopes to one day establish that same expectation from opposing defensive linemen as he helps chip pass rushers and open holes for the run game so foundational to Dallas' offense. In the passing game, he can muscle over defenders and create space, as SportsDay's Brandon George wrote when Gathers talked recently about recovering from his 2017 concussion.

    Gathers will fight for time with Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin and rookie Dalton Schultz in the Cowboys tight-ends room. But with 15-year starter Jason Witten's retirement and new coach Doug Nussmeier taking over tight ends, there's opportunity for change.

    "You've got to kind of step up when 8-2 [Witten] left," quarterback Dak Prescott said Thursday. "We've got some guys who have definitely done that."

    Garrett said last week that Gathers has noticeably improved since Dallas drafted him in 2016.

    "He's a different player now than he was a couple of years ago when he first showed up," Garrett said. "But he just needs to play more football."

    Playing more at 280-285 instead of 265 will also help, Gathers thinks. No longer does he intend to be the body absorbing pass rushers' blows.

    "Now coming off, I'm delivering the blow," Gathers said. "I'm delivering the shot."
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  • #2
    I have some hope for him, he's got all the raw athletic ability and size you could want in a TE in today's NFL. It's just a matter of putting it all together. With Witten retired, maybe that will be motivation for one of the guys on the roster to step up and be TE1. Nobody was going to supplant Witten in that role but with him gone, the job is up for grabs to whoever wants it the most.

    Comment


    • #3
      To help get him acclimated, we should teach him what Witten did for the last 3-4 years of his career: run 5-6 yards, turn around, stand there, catch a pass, and fall down.
      No Pat McQuistan = No Super Bowl. It's that simple.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Plan9Misfit View Post
        To help get him acclimated, we should teach him what Witten did for the last 3-4 years of his career: run 5-6 yards, turn around, stand there, catch a pass, and fall down.
        Blake Jarwin is probably being groomed for this specific role as we speak.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by boozeman View Post
          Blake Jarwin is probably being groomed for this specific role as we speak.
          Yeah frankly what Witten did on the field as a receiver last year shouldn't be that hard to replace. I know it's hard letting an all time go but a lot of his production last year was based on opportunities which come with being on the field 100% of the snaps.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cowboysrock55 View Post
            Yeah frankly what Witten did on the field as a receiver last year shouldn't be that hard to replace. I know it's hard letting an all time go but a lot of his production last year was based on opportunities which come with being on the field 100% of the snaps.
            Trust me Dez will miss Witten if not for the receiving then for the protection. Elliot will also. Witten usually kept a linbacker occupied as well.
            Since Day One

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            • #7
              Dez is missing football.
              defense wins championships

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by p1_ View Post
                Dez is missing football.
                Oops. Meant Dak. Must have missed a pill sometime.
                Since Day One

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                • #9
                  Witten was a great blocking TE in addition to his pass catching abilities. Of the replacements, its hard to say much about their abilities in that area. I have seen film on Schultz, and hes really good as a run blocker.
                  defense wins championships

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Plan9Misfit View Post
                    To help get him acclimated, we should teach him what Witten did for the last 3-4 years of his career: run 5-6 yards, turn around, stand there, catch a pass, and fall down.
                    It's not his pass catching duties that are a concern, it's his blocking.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by P_T View Post
                      It's not his pass catching duties that are a concern, it's his blocking.
                      Schultz has a huge advantage here.
                      defense wins championships

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by p1_ View Post
                        Schultz has a huge advantage here.
                        He is a pretty pivotal draft pick.

                        If they nailed it, it could be huge.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by boozeman View Post
                          He is a pretty pivotal draft pick.

                          If they nailed it, it could be huge.
                          C'mon.....the guy is will be average at best.

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                          • #14
                            All Im saying is that Shultz is already a strong blocker. Rico isn't yet.
                            defense wins championships

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Every GOOD team has moved on from the ancient philosophy of a fucking TE that blocks. They have fucking big WRs playing the position.


                              But of course, NOT DALLAS!!!

                              Has to have someone who can fucking block like it is 1988!!

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