IRVING, Texas -- Tight end James Hanna has played 135 snaps, starting six of seven games this season.
He has yet to catch a pass.
Actually, Tony Romo has directed only one pass Hanna’s way -- and that was three games ago against New Orleans - but Jason Garrett says the tight end plays a valuable role for the Dallas Cowboys.
Hanna spends much of his playing time as a blocking tight end, which should probably be considered impressive considering he’s just 249 pounds. By contrast, Jason Witten is 265 pounds.
“I think he’s a good player in the run game and a good player in the pass game," Jason Garrett said. "I think he’s underappreciated athletically, and I think he’s getting better technically as blocker.
“He’s a young player who continues to grow. He wants to be a good player and there’s a reason he’s playing. He’s worthy of having opportunities. We ask him to do a lot of things and some of it’s not fancy stuff that’s glamorous -- it’s some of the dirty work -- but he embraces it and gets better at it.”
One of the things you notice about the complementary players on this offense is they don't grumble about their roles. Sure, players such as receiver Dwayne Harris and running backs Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle want to play more and Gavin Escobar, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams would like more passes directed their way.
But Garrett constantly preaches the importance of the team and these players have bought in, which hasn’t always been the case for the Cowboys.
“We have guys who understand the importance of doing their job,” Garrett said. “A lot of times their job isn’t the glamorous thing to do, but they understand that helps us have success on that particular play and, ultimately, that helps us have success as a football team.
“Guys understand that. We have a lot of good players and a lot of good people on our team.”