OXNARD, CALIFORNIA // Jason Witten lined up at tight end with the rest of the starters for the Dallas Cowboys, occasionally sliding into the backfield as an H-back. When the second team took over, Witten was still out there, forced into it because injuries have the team with him and DajLeon Farr at tight end
Then practice ended and everyone wound down with a pair of sideline-to-sideline sprints. Witten started near the front of the pack and understandably finished near the back. Tired as he may have been, he still wasn't finished. As most of the team headed off the field, Witten and tight ends coach John Garrett worked on blocking techniques with Farr, who joined the team last week. Heading into his eighth season, Witten remains hungry for more - more catches, more touchdowns and, most of all, more post-season success.
After finally winning a play-off game last season, reaching the Super Bowl is the next step; having the game at Cowboys Stadium makes it even more enticing. So it is little wonder that Witten saw a bright side to his extra workload. "Here I am, going back to the basics," he said. "It's been good, especially in the middle of camp. We've all got a lot to improve on. The more work you can get, the more confidence you build."
He caught 94 passes for 1,030 yards last season, second best of his career in both categories. Touchdowns is the one category Witten is lacking. Seven is his career high and he had just two last season. It's probably no coincidence the Cowboys struggled inside the opponent's 20-yard line last season. Witten spent the past eight months looking to change that. He studied tapes of San Francisco's Vernon Davis (13 touchdowns last season) and Indianapolis' Dallas Clark (10), watching the moves they made and the formations that sprung them. He also reviewed every play he had in those situations.
"I think that's the only way to address it, to watch the film and try to get better," Witten said. "It's hard to maintain - you're either getting better or you're getting worse, especially at this level. The bar always gets higher for me. I always am pushing myself." * Associated Press