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July 18, 2013

Jason Garrett likes his tight ends, which is why FB Lawrence Vickers was cut

The Cowboys’ release of fullback Lawrence Vickers wasn’t as much about clearing salary-cap space as it was changing the direction of their offense. With Vickers sidelined after back surgery, Dallas spent the offseason working without a fullback.

The Cowboys found they like what they have in their tight ends. Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and James Hanna are the top three at the position, with Dante Rosario and Colin Cochart competing for the fourth spot. Rosario has experience as an H-back.

“That’s the way we operated throughout the offseason when Lawrence wasn’t available to us because of an injury,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We just liked how it looked and how it felt. There’s no guarantee that we’ll continue in that mode, but we feel good about the four, five, six tight ends we have on our roster right now, how they can compete and how the whole thing looked. So we’ll play that out through training camp and make the best decision for our team.”

Vickers had been scheduled to make $1.2 million in 2013, giving the Cowboys some $10 million in salary-cap space.

The Cowboys are expected to play more two tight end sets this season. Dallas didn't use its 12 personnel -- one running back and two tight ends -- much last season. The Cowboys ran only 195 plays with two tight ends last season when they had Witten, Hanna and John Phillips, who left for San Diego in the off-season. The Cowboys threw 74 times with two tight ends in the game, took one sack and rushed the ball 120 times.

In 2011, with Martellus Bennett as their second tight end, the Cowboys used two tight ends for 320 plays, rushing 225 times, taking six sacks and throwing 89 times.

-- Charean Williams

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