The Dallas Cowboys have a problem. It used to be called Terrell Owens, or T.O. for short. He was an outstanding player, one who trails only Jerry Rice in ever major career receiving category, still keeps his body in incredible shape and made plays no other player could. However, he also dropped passes frequently, especially in critical situations, and frequently let his actions and/or words get the best of him. Any of this sound familiar? It’s also a description of Cowboys current receiver Dez Bryant.
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has a knack for bringing in players who have troubled pasts. He sees them as ways to draw more attention to his team, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. Jones is a business mind and a dang good one. However, he has absolutely no clue how to build a winning football team. He sees the talent of players like Owens and Bryant as ways to improve his team and their baggage as ways to draw more attention to his franchise. The problem is he doesn’t think about the cross-effect those two things will have on the other.
Sure, Bryant makes at least one spectacular play every week, just like Owens did. He also drops a pass in each contest and it’s likely that drop will come in a critical situation; again, just like Owens. During the Cowboys’ 19-14 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Bryant’s drop came in the most critical of situations — in the end zone a second-and-nine from the Panther’s 15-yard line that would have given Dallas a 20-14 lead. The Cowboys had to settle for a field goal two plays later.
We won’t delve too deeply into Bryant’s dropped pass on what would have been the game-tying two-point conversion against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6, but that’s just another example of a play that really hurt the Cowboys. He had three total drops in that game, one Dallas had every opportunity to win, but came up short. Bryant now has the second-most drops of any player in the league and the Cowboys have the second-most drops of any team. As Michael Irvin used to say, “That ain’t good.”
The drops aren’t the only thing Bryant does that hurt the Cowboys, though; on the fourth play of the Panthers game, Bryant was tackled on a punt return and then jumped up and shoved two Carolina players and was called for unnecessary roughness. That 10-yard penalty negated Bryant’s 10-yard return, Dallas started the drive at its on 11-yard line stead of the 21 and went three and out. Did you get that? Bryant’s bad cancelled out his good. That’s Bryant’s role with the Cowboys, just like it was for T.O.
The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday and though they won’t, the Cowboys should consider trading Bryant. Hush up with your “who will take his spot?” garbage and just wait a second. Dallas hasn’t given Cole Beasley or Dwayne Harris a chance to play and both of them could make big impacts for the Cowboys. In addition, Dallas has three stellar tight ends in Jason Witten, John Phillips and James Hanna who aren’t used nearly enough. Without Bryant’s drops and his constant jabber and getting into trouble, maybe Dallas could finally get into some sort of offensive rhythm by using consistent players like Miles Austin, Witten, Phillips and Beasley while discovering the potential of guys like Harris and Hanna. Bryant is a cancer that is plaguing the team and although he’s not as deadly a cancer as Jones or head coach Jason Garrett, he’s killing this team. Here’s looking at you, T.O.