For the past few seasons, the Dallas Cowboys have had trouble scoring touchdowns in the red zone, which has been one of their Achilles heels on offense. They move the ball well but when they get inside that 20-yard line, they’ve had problems punching it in. One way to help the Cowboys to score more red zone touchdowns is to get tight end Jason Witten more involved in the offense near the goal line.
This hasn’t been the case in the past few years since Witten only has eight touchdowns in the past two seasons, but only three were scored this season. Catching just three touchdowns in a season where Witten caught 110 passes is not good enough and the Cowboys need to make him a threat when they drive into the red zone.
Witten is still one of the elite tight ends in the game and taking a look at some of the best tight ends in the league, their touchdown totals are much higher than Witten’s. Rob Gronkowski had 11 touchdowns, Jimmy Graham had nine, Tony Gonzalez and Heath Miller each had eight and Antonio Gates had seven scores. Those are just the tight ends considering the best in the game, but there were actually 21 tight ends in the NFL who had more touchdown catches than Witten, which is a staggering number. The New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons were all in the top seven in the league in points per game so it’s easy to see that if you get your tight ends involved near the goal line, the better your odds of scoring touchdowns.
It shouldn’t be hard to incorporate Witten into the red zone more either, since he led the Cowboys in targets and catches this year, not to mention he’s Tony Romo‘s supposed BFF, so it’s difficult to understand why he doesn’t score more touchdowns. Looking for Witten near the goal line will also open up the field more for Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray in smaller spaces.
Making explosive plays in the passing game is a big part of any offense and so is moving the chains, which Witten does about as good as any tight end in the league. If the Cowboys can utilize Witten more in the red zone, it would make their offense that much more difficult to stop.
The Dallas Cowboys need to improve their red zone efficiency in 2013 and it should start with Jason Witten.
you can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi