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Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Key Stat: Dez Bryant needs the ball early

By Jean-Jacques Taylor

Dez Bryant finished sixth in the NFL in receiving yards last season. Imagine where he would've finished if the Dallas Cowboys hadn't ignored him in the first quarter.

Bryant caught just nine passes for 104 yards in the first quarter last season. For a guy who finished with 93 receptions for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, that's a joke.

Detroit's Calvin Johnson caught 24 first quarter passes, and Houston's Andre Johnson caught 31. Chicago's Brandon Marshall caught 21 first-quarter passes and Denver's Demaryius Thomas had 24. Even Tampa Bay's Vincent Jackson had 15 catches in the first quarter.

Those are the only receivers with more yards than Bryant last season.

See the trend? All but Jackson were offensive focal points in the first quarter. Bryant is the Cowboys' most dynamic offensive player, so the Cowboys need to make it a priority to get him the ball.

And they need to get it to him in the first quarter, if for no other reason than he will create opportunities for others with the coverage he draws.

Coach Jason Garrett loves to spread the ball around and take what the defense gives him. Let's hope Bill Callahan is more persistent in getting his best player the ball.