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Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Young Guns: Dez Bryant

By Calvin Watkins

Since 2010 the Dallas Cowboys have done a better job of finding talent. As a core of Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Miles Austin, Jason Hatcher, Anthony Spencer and Doug Free inch closer to the end of their careers, the Cowboys need a group of young players heading into their primes to take ownership of the team. Cowboys reporters Calvin Watkins and Todd Archer analyze those players from the class of 2010 on.

Dez Bryant emerged as the Cowboys' No. 1 offensive threat in 2013. He finished the season leading the team in catches (93), receiving yards (1,233) and first downs earned (62).

Bryant
Bryant
For his efforts, Bryant was named to his first Pro Bowl, and to think his numbers would have been better if not for a one-catch performance at New Orleans, three-catch day at Detroit and a few games where he wasn't targeted on several possessions.

Bryant also caught a touchdown pass in his last five games.

The biggest issues for Bryant going forward is how he deals with different types of coverages and how he handles his emotions.

Quarterback Tony Romo isn't one to just target a receiver for the sake of doing that -- he throws the ball to the open man -- hence the impressive 44-catch season by rookie Terrance Williams and the 39-catch effort by second-year receiver Cole Beasley in 2013. However, there are times when the Cowboys have to find ways to get Bryant open regardless of the coverage.

Moving him around the line of scrimmage is key and you can't use the excuse that Bryant doesn't know the offense, because he has a command of it, not like Miles Austin, but he's trustworthy enough for Romo to make adjustments with him on the fly.

Playcaller Bill Callahan has to get Bryant going early because he can have such a big impact in the game. But when it doesn't happen, this is where things go haywire.

Bryant's outburst in the loss at Detroit made national news, something he wasn't trying to do, and while it later was revealed Bryant was being a positive light on the sideline, the perception was he was out of control. Bryant is an emotional player and one of the tough guys on this team. Bryant, however, has to be mindful of how he acts on the sideline.

He's everything the Cowboys need and his future says he'll get a contract extension because at his age, 25, he's somebody this team needs to move forward.