Jerry Jones talks up Dez Bryant

May, 18, 2011
5/18/11
5:31
PM ET
Jerry Jones told reporters today that he's happy Dez Bryant has been able to work out with teammates in spite of his ankle injury. I was going to make this a post wondering what Jerry Jones is doing commenting on player workouts during the lockout, but instead I'm going to slip that question into my ever-inflating "Stuff I Don't Understand About The Lockout" file and write about Bryant instead.

It's no accident that Bryant is a topic of discussion when Jones talks to the media. It's been clear since before he was drafted that Bryant was the kind of player who was going to attract attention for the length of his career, however long that career turns out to be, and getting drafted by the Cowboys only assured that. The guy's had a rough offseason, getting kicked out of shopping malls and being sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars and all of that, and if the news today is that his ankle is healthy enough to let him work out with his teammates, he's got to count that as a pretty good day.

But lockout or no, many eyes in Big D are going to be on Big Dez, because the Cowboys need him. He's the kind of talent that can help elevate them from good to great, and the Cowboys don't like to settle for "good."

Calvin Watkins, who wrote the story linked above, has said he expects a transition year for the Cowboys. Calvin knows more about the Cowboys than I do (though he does seek my counsel on other matters, such as good places to eat in Minneapolis), but I disagree with the notion that 2011 would need to be a step-back year in Dallas. There's enough talent on the roster to compete and win now, and a healthy Bryant offers the kind of talent that could, with the right breaks and the right free-agent moves, give the Cowboys a leg up. It doesn't take long to go from down to way, way up in this league, and it wasn't long ago that the Cowboys were a division champion and a Super Bowl contender.

When they drafted Bryant a year ago, they felt as if he could help put them over the top from good to great. Assuming they can get back to good in short order, that still could turn out to be true. Which is why Bryant is always going to be a hot topic for as long as he's around.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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