Dez Bryant having a quiet camp

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
3:23
PM ET
SAN ANTONIO -- While there was a discussion about the maturity level of tight end Martellus Bennett the other day, another one took place around here regarding Dez Bryant.

The wide receiver is having a productive and quiet training camp with the Cowboys.

How can you be productive and quiet at the same time?

There is no drama regarding who carries shoulder pads. There aren't any more creditors out there looking for money for goods and services rendered.

You could talk about how much Bryant owes and to whom until you pass out. Bryant even seems bored with talking about what happened in the offseason, offering a "no comment" when a television reporter asked him about a sagging jeans controversy in some East Texas town.

Bryant was smiling when he said it.

And it seems more than anything else, Bryant's second training camp with the Cowboys is more relaxed.

It could be by design, or maybe the 22-year-old receiver is understanding about the business of football and not about whether he should have been banned from a mall or if he should have purchased jewelry or cars.

"I'm stepping into a bigger role and I got to make sure everything is on point," he said.

There was the famous chant, "Leave him alone. Leave him alone," from the fans at last year's camp to reporters who chased Bryant down to the end zone seeking a comment on not carrying Roy Williams' shoulder pads.

It seems like such a long time ago.

Now the talk is about football and making Bryant a better player. A complete player. Jason Garrett said the young receiver has a long way to go, and that's good because in his rookie season, Bryant scored six touchdowns receiving and two on punt returns. When he departed in December with a fractured ankle, he was leading the team in receiving touchdowns.

He's getting some tutelage from receiver Miles Austin, who was taught the game by Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn, Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams.

"I don't feel like I'm teaching Dez," Austin said. "I'm just trying to be a good teammate and I'm trying to lead through my actions and not my words and trying to go in and work hard every day, and hopefully the younger guys see that. I'm not barking at people. That's not my style. I try to lead by actions instead of words."

Bryant's biggest issue was commanding the playbook, something that's not an issue now he says, and you can tell the team is giving him more to do. He's lining up on both sides and in the slot. He still messes up from time to time, and he needs to work on his technique. He didn't fool corner Mike Jenkins on a shutter-and-go move last week, leading to an interception. But Bryant in some ways is the Cowboys' most explosive player.

Austin might be solid, but it is Bryant who sells the tickets with amazing plays.

"I felt like I've done great," Bryant said of learning how to run precise routes and getting a better understanding of the playbook. "Some new stuff came into my role and I'm learning that and I'm getting [it] down real well. That's why we practice, and it will get better each and every week."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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