During training camp this off-season Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, head coach Jason Garrett and receivers coach Jimmy Robinson all praised Dez Bryant for how much better his conditioning was, as opposed to last season.
They all had great things to say about Bryant’s play and maturity. It sure seemed that way too, didn’t it? The amazing back-shoulder throw from Tony Romo to Bryant down the sideline against the Oakland Raiders proved that he had finally earned Romo’s trust, right?
So through two games it’s odd that Bryant hasn’t shown up, right?
Or is it?
Bryant is notorious for pulling disappearing acts particularly in the second half of games, but if he disappears for the entire game does that surprise you?
I’m not going to lie. I thought that Bryant had finally taken the steps toward becoming the player we all thought he could be. He certainly has the tools, but what good are the tools if you don’t use them?
Looking back at former Cowboys No. 88 and Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin it can be noted that he wasn’t as big as Bryant, he wasn’t as fast as Bryant, he wasn’t as strong as Bryant, but Irvin had something that Bryant doesn’t possess. Irvin had heart, determination, mental toughness and most noticeably he didn’t half-(donkey) it when he took the field.
Bryant has yet to become a play-maker. He’s yet to make game changing plays. He has yet to supplant Miles Austin as the No.1 receiver. I’m not saying all is lost, but Bryant needs to find a way to get involved in the game when in matters. He needs to make plays when Romo gets him the ball.
Through two weeks of play Bryant sits outside of the top 50 receivers in stats. He trails the likes of Brian Hartline of the Miami Dolphins, tight ends Dennis Pitta of the Baltimore Ravens and Martellus Bennett of the New York Giants in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
I expect that Bryant will continue to grow as a receiver, but first round receivers aren’t drafted to be serviceable receivers, they’re drafted to be difference makers. Should Bryant continue to regress, go ahead and add him to the team’s list of first round disappointments. A list that includes the likes of Marcus Spears, Bobby Carpenter, Anthony Spencer, Mike Jenkins and Felix Jones.
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