You won’t find many more well-respected players in the NFL than Jason Witten. That much is apparent based on the reverence with which even Dallas Cowboys opponents speak of the 14-year veteran.
Take Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, for example. With a pivotal showdown for NFC East supremacy scheduled for Sunday night, Schwartz is hard at work preparing for Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant, which is no small task. He hasn’t forgotten about Witten though, putting the 34-year-old tight end in very rare company, per Jon Machota for the Dallas Morning News.
“He’s a Hall of Famer,” Schwartz said. “There might not be a better option runner in the history of tight ends.
“Tight ends have been different. Tony Gonzalez was a down-the-field guy. [Shannon] Sharpe and those guys were sort of wide receiver-type guys. But Witten is a great blocker. He’s really a tough matchup when it comes to option routes. He’s very strong. He’s incredibly durable. … There is nothing you’re going to throw at him coverage-wise that he hasn’t seen more than a dozen times in his career.”
Looking purely at career totals, Witten is one of only two tight ends in NFL history with at least 1,048 receptions, 11,489 yards receiving and 60 touchdowns. That alone will be enough to get the 10-time Pro Bowl selection to the Hall, even before a word is spoken about his blocking.
Still, with all of the other weapons the Cowboys have amassed, it’s amazing and kind of funny to hear opposing coaches still discussing Witten in the year 2016. Clearly, the Eagles will be concerned with the tight end on Sunday, which should continue to help open things up for Prescott, Elliott, Bryant and Co.