Friday, October 21, 2011
QB avoids truth while defending Dez Bryant
By Tim MacMahon
IRVING, Texas – It isn’t Dez Bryant’s fault that he keeps getting shut out in the second half, according to his quarterback.
Tony Romo gives credit to the defenses.
“Dez is doing a good job,” Romo said. “It’s just coverage dictates where the ball goes. Who is covering who and everything. Sometimes he’s going to catch 10 balls in a row, then they can take him away for 10 passes.
“It’s not anything that he’s doing. He’s doing a great job.”
The problem with attributing the coverages to Bryant’s lack of second-half production is it isn’t consistent with the coaches’ take on the topic.
“I don’t see that,” receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said. “I think teams do what they do most of the time. If it happens that their coverage doubles him, then I don’t really, honestly see an awful lot of where they’re trying to do something to Dez and not someone else. I think we have too many weapons for them to try to do that.”
Said Jason Garrett: “I don’t know that they’re doing much, to be honest with you.”
It’s understandable that Romo tries to downplay a storyline he calls “a little overblown, for sure.” It’s admirable that the veteran quarterback attempts to deflect the heat from the young receiver.
But it’d be much more admirable if Romo accepted a bigger share of the accountability for Bryant’s second-half disappearing acts by admitting that there have been times where he should have pulled the trigger to get his most dynamic playmaker the ball.
Case in point: Bryant was one-on-one against a cornerback on the second-and-goal during the Cowboys’ last trip to the red zone Sunday. Romo threw a checkdown to Tashard Choice instead of giving Bryant a chance to do what he does best: make a play on a jump ball in the end zone.
“He got outside and I got off him at the last second. You see that?” Romo said to Garrett and quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson on the sideline, a moment captured by NFL Films. “He beat him outside and I got off him.”
When Bryant wins his routes, especially in the red zone, he needs to get the ball more often than not.
Of course, that's easier said than done. We're talking about making difficult decisions in a matter of split-seconds, and Romo's thought process could be cluttered by the fact that half of his six picks have been intended for Bryant.
As Romo told us last week, it's hard to play quarterback in the National Football League. But that's why Romo has a $67 million contract.
There are many factors for Bryant, a freakish talent, becoming a nonfactor after halftime. The defensive coverages rank somewhere below quarterback error.