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Words not needed for Romo, Bryant

8/6/2014

OXNARD, Calif. – The best play of Sunday’s practice for the Dallas Cowboys should have been a small gain on a slant pass from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant.

But with unspoken words built through years of playing and practicing together, Romo and Bryant saw the same thing when the defense blitzed.

Instead of throwing the pass in the first window with the pressure coming, Romo waited a tick, and Bryant kept running with Orlando Scandrick trailing as the second window opened. Romo’s pass perfectly led Bryant, who shrugged off Scandrick and raced down the field for the longest touchdown of training camp.

“It was a great job by him continuing to move through the hole, then the DB took an angle for the first window and made it difficult and Dez, being strong and physical with his hands and body, took off,” Romo said.

Chemistry can be a funny thing between quarterbacks and receivers. Romo and Roy Williams never really could figure it out. Romo and Terrell Owens, Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton and Terry Glenn figured it out pretty easily.

So have Romo and Bryant.

It's not always perfect, but they have developed a feel for what each other likes, especially on back-shoulder throws down the sideline or floated or bulleted throws in the end zone.

“They’ve certainly thrown a lot of footballs to each other and [are] both very instinctive, intuitive athletes,” coach Jason Garrett said. “They both have great vision and feel and understanding. Both are big-time basketball players and you can just see that in they carry themselves on the field. Really just a matter of time; those two guys have been working together, seeing things the same way, feeling things the same way and then communicating about it. It’s always a work in progress, but I think we’ve all seen how good they can be together. Not only when they are running structured stuff, but also when it’s a little more impromptu. I think they’re really getting a good feel.”

Romo also has that feel with Terrance Williams. Go back to the last game Romo played in 2013, Week 16 at Washington. On the game-winning drive, Romo stepped up in the pocket and Williams instinctively broke off his route and turned upfield, causing the receiver to slip. The end result was a 51-yard completion that made the Cowboys’ game-winning drive a lot easier.

“Dez has some rare body-control ability that’s different than most people on the planet,” Garrett said, “but Terrance does it in a different way. He’s been a guy who has been viable to quarterbacks as the play unfolds and the quarterback gets out of the pocket, whether it’s coming back for the ball or finding an opening, we’ve seen a lot of that up to this point. He’s still a young player and he just needs to play more, and the more he plays the more they’ll develop that communication.”

On the drive after Bryant’s catch-and-run on Sunday, Romo stepped up in the pocket as the pressure closed and Williams broke long. The pass was underthrown and wobbly, but Williams adjusted for the long catch in front of a few defensive backs.

“I was trying to throw it a little quicker,” Romo said. “Terrance did a great job on the ball. When the safety's back is turned you try to give him a chance. Obviously I want to throw a little bit farther. That was mostly just my footwork.”