Everyone made a huge deal out of Cowboys rookie receiver Dez Bryant refusing to carry veteran Roy Williams’ shoulder pads during training camp. Supposedly it’s a tradition, but Bryant claimed he had never heard such a ritual and did not carry the elder player’s pads. The first-round draft pick evidently made amends when he bought a pair of Air Jordan Olympic 7 shoes for each of the Cowboys receivers. Everyone who said Bryant is not a team player because of the shoulder pads episode should never speak of football again. I applaud Bryant for buying the shoes to ease any remaining tension, but he certainly was not required to do so.Of course nobody cared what any other receiver had to say about their kicks besides Williams. When asked about the shoes, Williams smiled and claimed he received the wrong size. “It’s OK,” Williams said lightheartedly. “My 15 didn’t get in. I got a little bit more hungry, a little bit more thirsty.” I’ve got to give it to Williams for acting like an adult about it instead of adding fuel to the distraction. You never say anything but “thank you” when you receive a Christmas present; it doesn’t matter whether it fits or if you even like it. For those of you who are thinking, “Well Dez should have been ‘polite’ and carried Roy’s pads,” just stop it.
If tight end Jason Witten had asked Bryant to carry his pads, I would have been the first to say the rookie should tote the gear with a smile. Witten has earned the right for any younger player to do whatever he asks. After the disappointing season Williams posted in 2009, he has no right to haze anyone, especially the first-round draft pick brought in to take his job. Now I’m no Roy-hater, I’m actually a big fan of the former Texas Longhorn and I expect him to have a much better season this year. However, I’m not fond of his immaturity regarding Bryant’s drafting. There’s no reason why Bryant, Williams, and Miles Austin could not thrive in a 3-receiver set like the Colts. Judging by his reaction to Bryant, Williams apparently doesn’t see that.Reggie Wayne didn’t get upset and treat Pierre Garcon or Austin Collie that way when Indianapolis brought them in last year. The Colts had the second-best passing offense in the NFL last season with Peyton Manning throwing to those three receivers plus All-Pro tight end Dallas Clark. The problem that has kept the Cowboys from becoming an elite NFL team the past few seasons has been distractions. Teams like the Colts don’t have distractions. Dallas would eliminate the distraction of Williams if they didn’t owe him nearly $10 million this season. However, they don’t need to do that because Williams and Bryant will make each other better. With three starting receivers on one team, opposing defenses cannot possibly adequately cover all of them. Williams and Bryant will both draw single coverage, with one of them looking at a safety or nickel back.
With both of them on the field, 2009 NFC leading receiver Austin will post even better numbers than he did a year ago. If Austin is not double covered, he will always get open, even against top-tier corners like Champ Bailey and Nnamdi Asomugha. When all three receivers take the field together, it’s not possible for defenses to double cover any of them. Of course the free safety will always have to cheat to Austin’s side of the field, but quarterback Tony Romo’s throwing options would open up dramatically. We haven’t even thrown Witten into the occasion yet. With all the attention going to the receivers, Witten will most likely see coverage from outside linebackers. Imagine the numbers he could put up in that situation! Way to go, Dez! Buy those Jordans!