Witten says draft moves point toward Cowboys’ running game

Posted Sunday, May. 18, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

After watching the team draft another offensive lineman in the first round, tight end Jason Witten said it’s clear the Dallas Cowboys are sticking to their commitment to run the ball better.

“I think it says a lot about where our football team’s headed,” he said Sunday as he wrapped up his football camp at Grand Prairie High School. “It was huge for us because for a long time we didn’t have that solidified. I think it speaks volumes for where we’re at and where we’re trying to go.”

Witten said he was as curious as anyone else when the Cowboys were picking at No. 16 and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was available.

But the Cowboys went with perhaps the safest pick on the board, Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin, and made him the third No. 1 pick added to the offensive line in the past four drafts.

“I kind of thought they wouldn’t do it, but obviously I thought he would probably be gone before that point,” Witten said of Manziel, who was drafted six picks later by the Cleveland Browns. “I thought it was pretty amazing to see the circus that was, anticipating that pick. I think everybody’s adrenalin got going when that was going on.

“I think he’s a good player and he’ll have a lot of success in this league. But I think for us and the commitment to Tony [Romo], I’ve said it throughout our careers, I think he’s an elite, elite quarterback and is going to bring us a championship here.”

So Witten appreciates the effect a reliable offensive line can have for Romo, who will enter this season coming off two backs surgeries in 2013.

The Cowboys put Martin at right guard in the rookie minicamp over the weekend, so they’re likely thinking of a line that includes 2011 No. 1 pick Tyron Smith at left tackle, Ronald Leary at left guard, 2013 No. 1 pick Travis Frederick at center, Martin at right guard and veteran Doug Free at right tackle.

“If you’re just picking guys to say, ‘Hey, we’re shoring up a spot that’s important to us,’ that’s one thing. But I mean, these guys are really good players,” Witten said.

“I think Tyron’s as good of an offensive lineman as there is in the National Football League. Travis is everything you want at center. He’s smart, he’s tough, dependable, only going to get better in his second year. And now, Zack. I think when you do that, it just makes your entire football team go. I think this is a league where if you can be good up front, everything else flows off of that.”

DeMarco Murray ran for 1,121 yards last year, ending a six-year drought of 1,000-yard rushers for the Cowboys.

“DeMarco was able to have over 1,000 yards rushing, and we still didn’t run the ball enough,” Witten said. “We weren’t good enough at it. That wasn’t because we didn’t want to. We just weren’t efficient enough when we needed to be.

“If you have the ability to run the ball when you want, everything flows off of that. The play action’s better. The drop-back game is better. The screens are better. And more importantly, you’re keeping these opposing offenses off the field. I think that’s something we’ve made a priority. And we need to build off of that and do a better job than last year.”

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @calexmendez

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?

Monday, September 22Full Scoreboard
Cleveland «4Final(10) | Box
Kansas City3Ballpark Replay
Kansas City1Bottom 4th | Box
Cleveland0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-KC, STO, MLB Net
Baltimore0Top 5th | Box
NY Yankees2@theBallpark | TV: MASN, YES
Seattle1Bottom 3rd | Box
Toronto6@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-NW, SNET
Chicago WSox2Bottom 4th | Box
Detroit0@theBallpark | TV: CSN-CHI, FSN-DET
Pittsburgh0Top 4th | Box
Atlanta0@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-PIT, SPSO, MLB Net
St. Louis0Top 2nd | Box
Chicago Cubs0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-MW, WGN
Houston0Bottom 1st | Box
Texas0@theBallpark | TV: CSN-HOU, FSN-SW
Arizona0Top 1st | Box
Minnesota0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-N
LA Angels 9/22 10:05 PM ET
Oakland TV: FSN-W, CSN-CA
San Francisco 9/22 10:10 PM ET
Los Angeles TV: CSN-BA, SportsNet LA, MLB
Colorado 9/22 10:10 PM ET
San Diego TV: ROOT-RM, FSN-SD, MLB Net
Full Scoreboard
Monday, September 22Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Monday, September 22Full Scoreboard
Ottawa2Final | Box
NY Islanders «3
Ottawa 9/22 6:00 PM ET
NY Islanders 
Toronto02nd Prd 20:00 | Box
Washington22nd Prd 11:28 | Box
Philadelphia1TV: CSN-DC, TCN-PHI
New Jersey22nd Prd 10:11 | Box
NY Rangers2TV: MSG+, MSG, NHL Network
Detroit12nd Prd 8:34 | Box
Minnesota01st Prd 13:50 | Box
St. Louis 9/22 8:30 PM ET
Anaheim 9/22 9:00 PM ET
Los Angeles 9/22 10:00 PM ET
Colorado 9/22 10:00 PM ET
Arizona 9/22 10:30 PM ET
Los Angeles 
Full Scoreboard