The man who first made No. 88 famous around these parts didn’t like what he saw from Dez Bryant on Thanksgiving.
It didn’t necessarily bother Drew Pearson that the rookie receiver didn’t have a catch for the first time this season during the 30-27 loss to the Saints. Bryant’s conduct on the sideline, specifically a couple of rants caught by television cameras, perturbed Pearson.
“I think it was more the T.O.-type emotion,” Pearson said Friday on ESPN 103.3’s Ben and Skin Show, referring to controversial former Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens. “I think that emotion was more individually oriented or individually based.”
The Saints made Bryant, who refused to talk to reporters after the loss, a focus of their defensive game plan. They appeared to confuse with a variety of well-disguised coverages, and Bryant’s frustration boiled over during the second half, when he was seen screaming at coaches and teammates.
The Cowboys tried to get Bryant involved in the fourth quarter, targeting him four times. But he wasn’t on the same page with quarterback Jon Kitna on at least two of those throws.
“What disappointed me out of the whole scene was that when they get back on the field, I guess they were listening to him on the sideline,” Pearson said. “In key situations, they were trying to force the ball to him and they didn’t have any success doing that.
“Sometimes we receivers react that way. We want the ball, there’s no question. But you’ve got to understand – and the quarterbacks and coach and all that have to decipher – whether this is an individual rant or if it’s a rant that goes with the flow of the game. … To me, from what I saw and from my experience of ranting myself, that was more of an individual rant, for sure.”
Pearson said the Cowboys can’t try to suppress Bryant’s emotion, because the first-round pick thrives off it. But the All-70s receiver believes that Bryant needs to learn to channel that emotion in a more productive manner – “within the flow of the game.”
The proper response from receivers coach Ray Sherman, in Pearson’s opinion, would have been to sternly let Bryant know that the Cowboys wouldn’t accept him becoming an issue on the sideline.
“We’ve got to concentrate on winning this game,” Pearson said. “We can’t concentrate on babysitting you.”