On a conference call with the Seattle media Wednesday, Tony Romo was asked what it has meant to have tight end Jason Witten as a teammate since arriving in Dallas together in 2003.
“Witten’s just the best,” Romo said. “He might be the best Dallas Cowboy of all time. Literally, his career has been exceptional. He’s hit every mark he ever had. He’s going to go on as the first or second greatest tight end of all time. I just think I’ve been lucky enough to be able to play with him.”
Witten, 32, has 898 catches for 10,014 yards and 52 touchdowns. Among tight ends in NFL history, Witten ranks second in catches to Tony Gonzalez (1,325) and third in receiving yards behind Gonzalez (15,127) and Shannon Sharpe (10,060). Witten ranks ninth among tight ends in career touchdowns.
Witten is on his way to joining the 12 former players the Cowboys have in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
There has been much talk this week about the Cowboys looking at the Seahawks as a measuring-stick game.
There has been even more talk about what the Cowboys need to do to slow Seattle’s misdirection offense, featuring quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch and receiver Percy Harvin.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli acknowledges the strength of the defending Super Bowl champions and respects the play-making skills of the trio.
But he said the most important thing is for the Cowboys to focus on themselves and do their jobs just as they have the first five games of the season, including the current four-game winning streak.
“It’s a heck of a team,” Marinelli said. “But as crazy as it sounds, I hardly talk about it. I’m really working on what we’ve got to do. Once you allow the environment to affect you and who you are playing that takes away the concentration on what we have to do. We understand it’s a heck of an opponent. ... It’s about us growing each week.
Certainly, Marinelli said the Cowboys need to be wary of Wilson’s run-pass skills by staying disciplined in their technique. They need to gang-tackle the hard-charging Lynch and somehow find a way to contain the strong and speedy Harvin.
“They’re a terrific football team, no doubt about it,” Marinelli said. “The skill is really special in the back. I really respect how hard and tough they play. It’s going to be a heck of a challenge but at the end of the day it’s about us, about us getting ready to go and playing our game.”
Owner Jerry Jones expressed optimism earlier this week that injured middle linebacker Rolando McClain had a chance of playing against the Seahawks.
And although McClain has yet to get on the practice field because a nagging groin injury, the Cowboys are remaining positive. He has participated in walk-through practices all week, unlike strongside linebacker Bruce Carter, who already been ruled out for the second straight week with a quadriceps strain.
Coach Jason Garrett said there is a chance McClain practices on a limited basis Friday.
It would be great for a linebacker corps reeling with injury concerns. In addition to McClain and Carter, backup linebacker and special teams ace Cam Lawrence has yet to practice this week because of a quad strain.
McClain hopes to practice Friday but called his status a game-time decision. The Cowboys will likely not wait that long and could sign rookie Keith Smith for the third time this season for depth purposes.