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Witten sees progress in Cowboys' tight ends

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted Aug. 07, 2010 @ 7:09 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Jason Witten need not fear the security of his own job. After all, he was Tony Romo's security blanket at times last season, especially down the stretch, when he caught a total of 94 passes, two shy of his career high.

Witten knows that the Cowboys' offense could be very dangerous this season. But he also knows that it could be extremely special if each offensive position develops the kind of depth that, say, the backfield enjoys with Felix Jones, Marion Barber and Tashard Choice.

At tight end, the Cowboys have some real talent. It remains to be seen if they can harness all of it. Martellus Bennett, Witten's supremely talented backup, was the talk of Cowboys camp in 2009 because of his rare athletic gifts. But he struggled through a tough season, seemingly taking a step backward. Some questioned his commitment to the game after a rookie season of ’08 that was spent earning the ire of some coaches. An ankle injury held him back early in camp this year, but Bennett appears to be making strides toward tapping into his immense talent.

"I think he's learned a lot over the last couple years," Witten told PFW. "He's got a unique personality, and I think that's not a bad thing at all. In the course of a season, there's so many highs and lows of football, you've got to be able to keep an even keel about you to manage all that. I think he's got a good understanding of that, he's playing really good.

"He's a very talented guy, and I think he's really embracing his role and where he is with this football team. I think this is going to be a good year for him."

Some Cowboys observers believed that No. 3 TE John Phillips, coming off a strong offseason of work, might push Bennett for time. Witten, however, appeared to suggest that there's room for all three tight ends to work in harmony.

"I don't know that (Phillips is) doing anything to push Martellus along," Witten said. "Obviously, they're different players. John took advantage of the opportunity that he had to play since Martellus was hurt. And he's one those guys, he's really smart, he's tough, he plays hard. I mean, you ask him to do anything, he can do it. He just has that mindset and is taking advantage of his opportunities.

"It's night and day to see him from rookie training camp to this training camp. He's really maximizing his opportunities and has grown as a football player. He's playing well."

 

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