Derek Dooley deals with Dez Bryant

November, 14, 2013
11/14/13
10:00
AM ET
Dez BryantAP Photo/James D. SmithReceivers coach Derek Dooley says Dez Bryant's sideline antics are often misunderstood.
IRVING, Texas -- Along the sidelines at several games, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is seen yelling.

He's always yelling it seems, but he's not being loud for the sake of it. His passion, Cowboys' players and coaches say, is encouraging.

The man at the center of most of these sideline 'chats' is wide receivers coach Derek Dooley.

"I don’t think they were all animated for the same reasons," Dooley said. "If they were all animated because they want to win and they want to be as good as they can be to help the team, I would love to have that. What you don’t want is a bunch of passion that’s sort of unbridled and has no purpose -- you’re just out there ranting. That’s not the case, and I don’t think that’s the case with Dez for those that know him."

The worst of the sideline rants occurred in Detroit where Bryant is waving his arms, yelling about coverages and how the Cowboys are the best in the league at beating certain types of defenses. Bryant breaks through a discussion between Jason Witten and Jason Garrett to yell at Tony Romo. Bryant also yells about the defense he's seeing to Dooley, who speaks in a calm tone to the 25-year old, as he walks away.

The attention brought to Bryant's sideline antics that day stunned, him because it was mostly negative. A audio account of what he actually said supported his comments after the game, where he said he was just talking about beating coverages, not complaining about touches.

"I found it interesting -- after the game, everybody was asked at different levels what went on," Dooley said. "All the answers were consistent, nobody really thought it was a big deal except everybody outside of our -- you know. And I can understand both sides. To us, when you’re hearing it, I remember people asked me, they go ‘Well he was right there, and you just kind of walked right by.’ He’s over there going, ‘We’ve got to win, we’ve got to win.’ You know, he wasn’t saying anything bad, so you just go ‘Yeah, I know.’ I mean a great example is after (Terrance Williams') touchdown, he went up to Tony and is just ‘Keep throwing it to Terrance if he’s one-on-one.’ But if you don’t know what’s said, it looks like he’s chewing him out. I mean, he wasn’t."

Dooley, along with several Cowboys' officials, don't want Bryant to curtail his passion, because it's needed on a weekly basis. Bryant's sideline explosion prompted Jerry Jones to say he might visit the sidelines more often to check on the passion of the team. Jones hasn't visited the Cowboys' sidelines for any extended period after Bryant's actions in Detroit.

Dooley, along with former receivers coaches, Ray Sherman and Jimmy Robinson, have been a calming influence during Bryant's maturity from rookie receiver, to one of the most talented players in the NFL.

But sometimes the sideline antics get in the way of what's important, and that's Bryant's production.

"When you’ve been in coaching and you’ve been around kids your whole life, you can get a read on people," Dooley said. "I think sometimes we put these unrealistic expectations on the emotions of a 25, 26, 27year-old, that things shouldn’t bother them, and they’re human. You guys get bothered, I get bothered by things, so learning how to compartmentalize that and go out and perform at a high level, it’s a real step. I think he’s doing great. I think he really is. I think he’s playing with more consistency than he’s ever played with. His production is high, but we always want it to be higher, and we can do a better job for him."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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