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Witten Getting No Red Zone Love

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20: Running back Felix Jones #28, Jason Witten #82 and Patrick Crayton #84 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    Two weeks ago, Martellus Bennett caused a quasi-stir when he joked at a charity event about his supposed lack of opportunities this year, taking a probably-benign shot at quarterback Tony Romo.

    As it turn out though, and more than a little surprising, Jason Witten might have more of a legit beef with the play-calling than does Bennett or anyone else. Witten has proved his ability, his toughness, his hands of gold and every other attribute one could reasonably hope for (and some you couldn't, not reasonably anyway) in a perennial Pro Bowl tight end, in myriad instances; that is, for all intents and purposes on this Cowboys' team, he's Mr. Sure Thing.

    Which makes this stat, brought to light by the always dapper David Moore, at the Dallas Morning News vaguely appalling. Following is a list of Tony Romo's potential targets in the red zone over the last three games:

    Austin _ 4
    Hurd _ 4
    Williams _ 3
    Crayton _ 3
    Choice _ 2
    Bennett _ 1
    Witten _ 0

    And somewhere, Terrell Owens still thinks Romo favors his boy too much on the field. The most frustrating instance of Witten's lack of involvement, as Moore points out, were the two passes to Sam Hurd to finish the Denver game. The super-tight-end from Tennessee was on the field for both of those plays--as a blocker.

    Oops.

    If Dallas doesn't right the ship over the next 11 games, add this tidbit to the litany of grievances that will be brought forth against Jason Garrett by the masses.

    "We have to get a Witten or a guy matched up that we think can beat somebody and go to them,'' Wade Phillips said in the post. "Witten has always been a guy, but getting a feel for all the receivers and who can do what I think is important.''

    This is true. But there is a time and a place for everything. For example, when the game is on the line in Denver, it might be good to postpone the "getting a feel" approach in lieu of the "let's try to win with a proven receiver" approach.

    Just a thought.