Time for Dez Bryant's talent to be worth the trouble
Cold as it sounds, the Dallas Cowboys care about Dez Bryant’s personal issues purely because of his potential.
|Cowboy legends Roger Staubach and Drew Pearson weigh in on Dez Bryant's arrest for allegedly assaulting his mom. |
If Bryant wants the Cowboys to remain committed to him, he better come through with the kind of season that merits comparisons to Michael Irvin, Bob Hayes and Drew Pearson (or Terrell Owens, for that matter).
It’s time. With rare exceptions, elite receivers have emerged by the end of their third season.
If Bryant isn’t a Pro Bowler this season, it will be difficult to continue believing he’ll become the superstar the Cowboys envisioned when they decided the reward was worth the risks.
He’s been productive. His numbers last season (63 catches for 928 yards and nine touchdowns) were nearly identical to the stats put up by Packers receiver Greg Jennings. It was, by any reasonable measure, a pretty good year.
But the Cowboys weren’t counting on pretty good when they decided to bring Bryant and his baggage aboard. They thought they got a gamebreaker.
There have been flashes of brilliance from Bryant, but he’s been far from a dominant force. He’s had one 100-yard game in his career. By comparison, Calvin Johnson -- the only receiver in the league who is clearly more physically gifted than Bryant -- averaged more than 100 yards per game last season.
There aren’t any legitimate football-related excuses for Bryant to fail to have a monster season. This will be his third season in the same system. He plays in offense that features a top-10 quarterback and has enough established weapons that opposing defenses can’t just scheme to stop him. And he spent the offseason training under a six-time Super Bowl champion strength coach.
However, the off-the-field obstacles for Bryant are as imposing as they’ve been during his professional career. The spotlight has intensified on Bryant’s dysfunctional family situation after his Monday arrest on a misdemeanor charge for allegedly assaulting his mother.
How will an emotionally fragile, immature 23-year-old handle scrutiny that will be harsher than ever? Can Bryant deal with the largely self-inflicted distractions?
We’ll find out soon. And, if the Cowboys aren’t satisfied with the answers, they might find a way to make Bryant expendable.
It’s time for the talent to be worth the trouble.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss this week's minicamp and Dez Bryant. Claiborne will join the show to discuss the latest Cowboys news all season.
Play Podcast Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit and you won't believe who he says is the Cowboys' best player.
Play Podcast Cowboys wide receivers coach Derek Dooley joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about Dez Bryant's talent and potential.
Play Podcast Glenn "Stretch" Smith and Matt Mosley talk about their time at Day 2 of Cowboys minicamp and discuss Monte Kiffin's defensive principles and his growing relationship with the players.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL insider John Clayton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Cowboys and Tony Romo missing OTAs.
Play Podcast ESPN senior NFL analyst Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss another busy week for the Cowboys at Valley Ranch.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Mark Schlereth joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss how Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and others spend lots of time with their receivers and if it matters that Tony Romo is not participating in OTAs.
Play Podcast Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what he's looking for during the third session of OTAs, a potential Sean Lee contract extension and why people underestimate Miles Austin's value.