If you are familiar with the RICO act in criminal law you’ll know it was an act passed to thwart corrupt organizations. If you have been following the Dallas Cowboys preseason one could say it has been downright criminal that Rico Gathers hasn’t received more playing time. That may all change in week three of the preseason when Dallas takes on Arizona in a Sunday Night Football matchup.
This week Rico received some work with the first team which feels like a sign that the coaching staff wants to see what he can do against the big boys going into the “dress rehearsal” game. That’s exactly what they should be doing. That said they know they need more.
What the Cowboys organization and Rico himself want to see more of is consistency. The stigma surrounding him is that he makes the spectacular play from time to time but lacks the small things it takes to be on the field down after down.
Gathers stated after practice Monday, “Keep coming out and making the most of my snaps, whether it’s two plays, 31 plays or 50 plays,” he said. “At the end of the day, each snap counts.”
Given the small number of snaps he has had in his preseason career that’s exactly what he has done. This past Sunday he showcased another highlight play using his big frame to snatch the ball away from a defender and get yards after the catch.
Would Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie rather have his highlight INT from Saturday night’s game or this Rico Gathers catch? “Rico’s catch. That was pretty nasty. It looked like he was dunking the ball on somebody.” pic.twitter.com/6CIcJ9Ubhy
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 19, 2018
What makes his case unique right now is the state of the tight end position on the roster. There isn’t one guy that stands out completely in any area of their game except Rico. It’s without a doubt he is the most athletic, the most explosive and the best pass-catching tight end on the roster.
However, Coach Jason Garrett requires more from the position.
“When you have a real clear idea of what the front is and you know you have this guy, he can do a pretty decent job. He still has to work on his technique. But oftentimes in this game the front change, this guy slides over, the ball is snapped. For a guy just starting to play again after a long, long time, those times can be challenging situations that causes him to be hesitant and not use his physical abilities.”
It’s these nuances of the game that Rico has to establish on a consistent basis to get more steady playing time. With that said, there isn’t a guy on the roster that can do what he can do from the inline position. That alone makes him a valuable asset to the team, the question is does the Cowboys brass feel that way?
Its go time for Rico and with the depth of the tight end position he is in a prime spot to be stamped on the roster this week.
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