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Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz believes yards after the catch is about mindset

After being a bright spot and claiming the tight end job for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020, Dalton Schultz has added the ability to gain extra yards to his repertoire
Credit: AP
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz (86) catches a pass against San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker David Mayo during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

DALLAS — Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz has added another dimension to his game.

The former 2018 fourth-round pick from Stanford is blossoming in his role as the Cowboys' No. 1 tight end. Schultz knew that he had to add another piece to his game after a breakout 2020 campaign.

Along with being a decent target in the intermediate passing game, Schultz has also developed into a serviceable performer when aiming for extra yards after the catch.

According to Schultz, YAC is about a mentality more so than physicality.

"Just the mindset I don’t want to go down," Schultz said. "It also comes with the comfortability after last year. I got the ball more than I have like any other season I played. So every time I get the ball I’m a little more comfortable. The game has definitely slowed down."

Schultz provided Dallas with 63 catches for 615 yards and four touchdowns through 16 games last year, 14 of which he started as intended preseason starter, Blake Jarwin, was lost for the season with a torn ACL before the second half in Week 1.

The greatest example of how Schultz has emphasized yards after the catch came in the 41-21 Week 3 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football at AT&T Stadium. On a third-and-1 from the Eagles' 22-yard line with 7:05 to go in the game, and Dallas leading comfortably 34-14, Schultz caught a simple 2-yard catch to move the chains. However, the 6-5, 244-pound tight end was hardly finished.

Said Schultz: "As soon as I caught it I kind of looked inside and I saw just the line the pursuit angles and I knew I was like I just got to get them going upfield. I was looking to cut back for like 10 yards. I put my right foot in the ground. I don’t know how the hole opened up the way it did. I zoned in. I literally saw the end zone and I just looked right at the line and said, ‘I’m getting that.’"

Receiver Amari Cooper thought that Schultz wouldn't cut back and asked what had gotten into the tight end.

"He’s like, ‘Man, I needed that,'" Cooper said. "It was cool to see. I was surprised. I was in the end zone, he caught it because he’s a tight end, you know what I mean? It was surprising. But that’s just his confidence is growing a lot. He’s been working extremely hard, the past couple of years actually."

Schultz will have another opportunity to showcase what he can do in the Cowboys' offense with his newfound commitment to YAC as Dallas hosts the 3-0 Carolina Panthers on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Central Time at AT&T Stadium.


Do you think Dalton Schultz has earned more looks in the offense? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.

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