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Five-star answer: Dez has to prepare better

10/20/2011

Five-star question: Will Jason Garrett find a way to get Dez Bryant involved the offense in the second half against St. Louis?

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has been questioned greatly as to why Bryant appears to disappear in the second half when the receiver is one of the most dynamic players in the Cowboys' arsenal. I have questions of my own: Is there a lack of confidence from Garrett? Does quarterback Tony Romo really trust Bryant will be in the right place when he delivers the ball?

Romo has thrown six interceptions this season, but three came on passes targeted to Bryant. Is Bryant’s lack of on-field work with Romo because of injuries now a factor? Bryant is young, and he appears to need reps to understand what is required to execute the game plan. You see it in the way he runs routes and when the team goes to a 2-minute drill.

The more you study Bryant, the more that you understand all the factors that I listed above are impeeding his development. Garrett always speaks of trying to put his players in the best position to make plays. It’s what coaches do. Garrett would be foolish to not try and do things that would give Bryant a chance for success.

How much of this should be placed at the feet of Bryant? I believe he should share in the majority of the blame. Bryant needs to look at himself and be honest with where he is in this offense. Is he preparing each week to go out and do his job to the best of his talents? Garrett tells the media each week that Dez is, but I would be willing to wager, that in those staff meetings, it’s a different story.

I've seen this before. I know for a fact that Garrett wanted to get him the ball in the red zone in the fourth quarter of a 13-13 tie against the Patriots. When Romo looked his way on that second down play, did Bryant sell the route enough to get cornerback Leigh Bodden off balance and get separation?

Now I go back to my point about Romo and some of the troubles that he's had with turnovers in the red zone. Was Romo willing to make that throw with that thought in mind and not a clean read? I don’t think so. Romo checked the ball down to Tashard Choice, even though he was covered by a safety and a linebacker. It goes back to my point about confidence in the player and the confidence of Romo as a teammate.

As a quarterback, if you don’t have trust, it’s hard to pull that trigger with the game on the line.

There is more to the NFL game than just running two routes. Ask Michael Irvin the same question. Garrett and Romo need Dez Bryant to grow up fast as a player but, until then, these problems will continue and Bryant will not be the factor that we all know he can potentially be.