In part three of a twelve part series leading up to training camp 2010, Blue-Star takes an in-depth look at the Dallas Cowboys' tight ends:
The Good: Jason Witten was predictably impressive despite a lack of red-zone looks in 2009, earning another Pro Bowl selection with 94 catches and 1,030 yards. He turned 28 in May, but durability has never been an issue with the former All-Pro. Martellus Bennett had a thoroughly disappointing sophomore season, but he remains an excellent blocker.
John Phillips, a rookie in 2008, also excelled as a blocker, as expected when he was drafted. Less expected was that, toward the end of the season, he proved a capable receiver. With the trio of Witten, Bennett and Phillips, the team is more or less set at the position going into the 2010 season.
The Bad: After a monstrous pre-season campaign, Bennett was thought to be on the cusp of a breakout season. But this success did not translate into the regular season, as Bennett made a solid case for being the Cowboys' biggest disappointment of 2009. Jerry Jones publicly questioned his focus late in the year, and he seems to be set up for a make-or-break type year in 2010.
Additionally in 2010, the team would do well to look at Witten more often in the red zone. The All-Everything tight end saw just seven looks inside the opponents' 20-yard-line in 2009, 29th lowest among NFL tight ends. And this is actually one more red-zone look than he got in 2008.
The Future: Dallas is set at tight end at the moment, thanks in great part to the future Hall of Fame candidate Witten, but Bennett remains a huge question mark. He seems to have all the tools to be a great tight end, but has yet to put it together, so to speak. The team likes what they see out of Phillips, and it'll be interesting to watch his development in 2010. UNH product Scott Sicko looks like a long-shot to crack the 53-man roster, as does Kevin Brock.
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