ESPN’s Bill Barnwell broke down in detail how Schultz, filling in for starter Blake Jarwin (torn ACL), “badly hurt” the team’s chances against Los Angeles. There were multiple instances, beginning in the fourth quarter, in the red zone, when a Dak Prescott pass clanked off his hands. This preceded the now-infamous 4th-and-3 sequence.
And — whoda thunk it — Schultz was a culprit on CeeDee Lamb’s failed conversion. As Barnwell explains, the Cowboys ran a mesh concept featuring two crossing routes over the middle and a wheel route from the backfield. Designed to create separation, the play-call was doomed by Schultz’s inability to … create enough separation.
“The job of the deeper crossing route on mesh is to set the depth of the shorter route working underneath it,” Barnwell wrote. “In a fourth-and-short situation like this, they wanted both crossing routes to be past the sticks so that their receivers could each run their routes and catch the ball at or past the first-down marker. Schultz, running the deeper crossing route, needed to run his route one yard past the sticks to leave Lamb enough space to run his crossing route at the sticks. Instead, as you can see from the NFL Next Gen Stats play animation below (embedded in article), Schultz ran his crossing route three yards deep, forcing Lamb to run his route two yards downfield, one yard short of the sticks.”
For the capper, Schultz dropped another ball on Dallas’ final drive. He finished the 20-17 loss with just one grab for 11 yards on four targets — and, frighteningly, 69.44% of offensive snaps.
Because the club did not add another TE following Jarwin’s move to injured reserve, the 2018 fourth-round pick will start Sunday in the Cowboys’ home opener against the Atlanta Falcons. To this end, Barnwell ended his eye-opening analysis with a massive understatement.
“Schultz will need to step up in his new role as the team’s starting tight end,” he wrote.
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Cooper Gives One-Word Final Answer on Week 2 Status
A single syllable is all notoriously tight-lipped Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper could bring himself to offer about his mysterious foot injury. It was plenty.
“No,” Cooper responded Friday when asked by reporters if he expects to miss Week 2.
The Pro Bowl wideout popped up on Thursday’s injury report, essentially out of nowhere, with the bum foot. He was removed from the report Friday after explaining that he merely bruised his foot in Dallas’ loss to the Rams, curtailing increasing panic over his availability.
Cooper, who signed a five-year, $100 million contract with the Cowboys in March, will take his usual place in the starting lineup. Following a team-leading 10 catches for 81 yards in Week 1, he gets a plus matchup in an Atlanta defense that surrendered 322 yards and four passing touchdowns to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL