Blake Jarwin vs. Jason Witten: Who Should be Cowboys’ Starting Tight End?

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has returned since skipping a season to take a position in the booth as an analyst. We learned two things about that one-year stint. First, it didn’t take long for the world to see that Witten as an analyst was not a good fit. Second, and more importantly, he realized he still had an “itch” to play and came back to the game. He didn’t come back to the team to be a leader. He came back to make an impact and took the back seat for a while. However, in training camp, he re-gained his starting position.

For many fans, this decision was unpopular, as many believed Blake Jarwin should be the starter.

Lately, there have been numerous debates on who is better. So, let’s take a closer look now that we are deep into the season.

Witten vs. Jarwin (Old School vs. New School)

Let me start off by saying that Witten is a future Hall of Famer, the best tight end that has ever played for the Dallas Cowboys, and will go down as one of the best tight ends to ever play in the NFL. The above statement can be reflected by many fans, however, as they are opinionated. Blake Jarwin is making an impact on this team and deserves a stat comparison.

Jason Witten                                       Blake Jarwin
Rec 53                                                    Rec 28
Tgts 71                                                   Tgts 36
Yds 455                                                  Yds 311
Avg 8.6                                                   Avg 11.1
TD 3                                                        TD 3
Long 33                                                  Long 42
Fmb Lost 1                                            Fmb Lost 0
YAC 145                                                  YAC 126

The above stats, at quick glance, show that Witten is the better tight end overall. But, here comes the kicker, as Witten is on the field for 76 percent of the offensive snaps compared to Jarwin’s 37 percent. That’s a big difference, as Witten is on the field double the time Jarwin is. Witten may be used more as a blocker in these stats, as well, so the variable changes a little bit, but not as much to make another stat out of it.

A few more stats worth noting: Jarwin has six catches of over 20 yards to Witten’s two. Jarwin can stretch the field more and this stat proves it. Allowing a tight end to run deeper routes like a wide receiver offers huge potential to open things up in the running game as well, which will allow the best running back in the league to do what he does best.

It’s clear that Jarwin is the more dynamic player. It’s also clear that Witten is on the field to help block and protect Dak Prescott. So, do they both deserve playing time? Absolutely.  However, the better choice to start the game and have a higher snap count is easily Blake Jarwin.

Will Witten return next season as a player? Rumors are circulating for him to join the coaching staff or a front-office position within the organization. My final thought: if this is Witten’s last year playing, allow him to end his career as a starter since there are only three regular-season games remaining. But, if he intends to come back, it’s overdue to allow Jarwin to take over.

Thank you for an incredible career, Jason Witten, and thank you for being such an influential and positive role model for the youth of this world. Your jersey will be worn by fans for decades to come, but there is a new hotrod in town and it’s time for him to take the reins.

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