OXNARD, Calif. -- If Dez Bryant wants to get on Jerry Jones’ good side, he better keep doing what he’s been doing during training camp.
Bryant often dominated during the Cowboys’ first week of camp, displaying the talent that tempted the Cowboys to trade up to draft him a few years ago. Jones is challenging Bryant to perform like that consistently and demanding that the receiver, whose off-field issues are in the spotlight after his recent arrest on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, steer clear of trouble.
“I’m seeing him do what you almost expect from him,” Jones said Sunday. “What I want him to do is, and we want to do, is be able to do that all year long, all game long. That hasn’t happened. He’s disappeared at the end of some ballgames, and then we haven’t had at him because of injury in the season.
Jones believes that Bryant is in the best shape of his life after working with six-time Super Bowl champion strength coach Mike Woicik all offseason. That’s a major reason that Jones is optimistic that Bryant, who had 928 yards and nine touchdowns catches in his second NFL season last year, is primed for a breakout campaign.
Bryant’s daily jaw-dropping displays of freakish athleticism, such as the leaping, one-handed catch he made over Orlando Scandrick on Saturday, also provide plenty of hope for the Cowboys’ owner.
“That’s why he’s got a real opportunity to get his life together, because he can make plays like that,” Jones said. “And if he can do that, he’s got a way to kind of get people to say, look, he was a young guy, made some mistakes, but look at him go now. That’s my dream for him.”
Jones joked about his previous comments indicating that Bryant was one off-field misstep away from being a former Cowboy. “You know, just because I said it doesn’t make it so,” he cracked.
However, moments later, Jones reiterated that Bryant remains on shaky ground despite his immense potential and excellent performance so far in this camp.
“He’s screwed around here and got his benefit of the doubt collateral down to nothing,” Jones said. “And he’s also very vulnerable.
“Now, you’ve got to act differently when you’re in those shoes. He’s got to gain a bunch of that back. He can do it, and he can do it right out on this football field. And I hope that he does.”