As the Dallas Cowboys prepare for their game against the New York Giants, they might have to do so without one of their best players.
Tight end Dalton Schultz injured his knee in the Cowboys week two win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He didn’t practice on Thursday and there is still a small chance he could play on Monday night.
In all likelihood, if he can’t go, this would mean Dallas would rely heavily on their rookie tight ends to pick up the slack. Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot each stood out in preseason, enough that the Cowboys opted to keep both rookies as their TE’s2/3, rather than seek a veteran.
Ferguson is a developed run blocker, with solid hands and displays shiftiness after the catch. While Hendershot isn’t as developed a blocker, he has a second gear as a receiver, reminiscent of Blake Jarwin.
Cowboys rookie TE Peyton Hendershot pic.twitter.com/Ba8W4PFGSq— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 27, 2022
The run game, this is where they will be most needed. The Dallas Cowboys run 12-personnel (1 RB, 2 TE’s) at a 25% rate, with over 50% success rate. Blocking for the 22nd ranked rushing team in the NFL.
They will face against the NFL’s 18th ranked run defense. Highlighted by the potential debuts of edge rushers Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux, but without Pro Bowl DL Leonard Williams.
You gotta love the fight and grit Jake Ferguson brings from a blocking standpoint.— Skywalker Steele (@SkywalkerSteele) September 7, 2022
Growing up in BIG 10 country and being a former linebacker he's not scared of the smoke. pic.twitter.com/w8b61JAb8s
According to Next Gen Stats, the majority of the Dallas Cowboys longest runs can from runs outside the box (outside the tackles). As Schultz was a major player in this, the heavy use of the rookie TE’s will need to be used in order to maintain the offenses efficiency.
Both Ferguson and Hendershot have been taking a large number of stats with the first-team in practice. Leading to further speculation that they will each start.
If it culminates this way, the team seems confident in both of them. As blockers and receivers. They will certainly get their fair share of playing time, especially since it will take both to fill the void left by Schultz.
Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports