Dez Bryant's impact has been limited

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
11:36
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- During training camp, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was described as being outstanding.

Through two regular-season games, Bryant has seven catches for 102 yards, no touchdowns and two drops. His longest catch was for 38 yards, and of the 25 first downs recorded by Cowboys receivers, he's got four.

On special teams, Bryant has been bad. An expected playmaker, Bryant has just 2 return yards on four punt return attempts. In the season opener at the New York Giants, Bryant found some room down the sideline for an expected long return, but he tripped up on his own feet. In the Week 2 game, he muffed a punt, though he recovered.

To say Bryant is off to a slow start would be fair.

Wednesday morning, coach Jason Garrett didn't mention the word outstanding when talking about the third-year receiver.

"Dez is like everybody else, you just got to keep playing through the tough parts of a ballgame and of stretches of ballgames," Garrett said. "Just got to come back this week, and he's certainly a big part of what we're doing. The defensive teams that we go up against know who No. 88 is, and we certainly do too. We're going to try and help him get going and he's certainly a big part of that as well. It will be a big challenge this week against these corners."

Last week against Seattle, Bryant was stymied by press coverage. While he did get free some, he didn't have much of an impact. This Sunday, the Cowboys face Tampa Bay's Aqib Talib and Eric Wright, good cover corners who like to challenge wide receivers.

"We have a kind of offense that we can stand up here after every game -- and trust me, the Seattle game isn't a great example of this -- but you can stand up here after the Giants game and say, 'Where was this guy?' Witten only caught two balls, Ogletree caught eight," Witten said. "We believe in our offensive football that we have to use all the different weapons at our disposal and attack different ways. If you want to look at a game and say, 'This guy didn't do this,' without recognizing what maybe somebody else did, you can find something bad with our offense every week. Dez catches 10, what happened to Ogletree? That’s a philosophy you can take, but our philosophy is everyone has a role and everyone can do their job to the best of their ability."
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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