|ESPN.com: BlogsColumns||[Print without images]|
IRVING, Texas -- Dez Bryant can't rant and rave at Tony Romo while the quarterback is studying pictures of the Dallas Cowboys' previous drive and figuring out how to fix the offense.
It's unproductive. It's immature.
And it accomplishes nothing, because all of Bryant's points -- even if they are valid -- get lost in the noise.
A day after his sideline tirade in the Cowboys' 31-30 loss to the Detroit Lions made national headlines and provided sports talk shows fodder throughout the country, Bryant wanted to make one thing clear:
Sideline displays are pointless for Dez Bryant, because they only get lost in the mix.
"It doesn't matter what nobody else says on the outside. If we would've just won, I guarantee you probably none of this would matter. But we didn't. I've just got to do a better job of understanding the way how things can look when it's really not."
And Romo, Bill Callahan and Jason Garrett must do a better job of giving Bryant opportunities to make plays each week.
They failed Sunday.
Romo didn't direct a pass Bryant's way until 55 seconds remained in the first half. By then, the Cowboys had run 26 plays spanning six series and Romo had thrown 16 passes.
That first pass to him was incomplete, but Bryant made a leaping one-handed grab to pin the ball against his helmet on the next play -- despite tight coverage in the corner of the end zone -- and give the Cowboys a 10-3 lead.
Bryant caught a 17-yard pass on the second play of the third quarter, then Romo threw five more passes, including a third-down incompletion to Dwayne Harris, before Bryant's sideline outburst.
At that point, the Cowboys had run 39 plays and Romo had thrown 24 passes. Bryant had two catches for 22 yards; Detroit's Calvin Johnson had six catches for 156 yards.
Bryant insists the much-talked about comparisons he made between himself and Johnson during the week had nothing to do with angst.
One important component lost in the Bryant controversy is that Tony Romo, Bill Callahan and Jason Garrett must work together to get their receiver more touches.
"Man, not at all, not at all," Bryant said. "And I think I made that very clear. It is not a comparison. It is not one. Like I said, this is the game of football.
"It is a team sport. We were out there trying to get the W. That's the only thing that matters each and every week."
Garrett said he spoke with Bryant on the return flight to Dallas about channeling his emotions properly and not becoming a distraction.
Romo said he has no issue with Bryant. Jason Witten hugged the 24-year-old receiver after the game -- less than 15 minutes after the two had a heated sideline exchange and had to be separated by DeMarcus Ware.
Witten wanted Bryant focused on the final 12 seconds, not the score.
Romo and Witten understand the same passion they saw on the sideline is the same stuff that makes Bryant one of the game's best receivers. We're talking about a dude who can still provide every detail of the first touchdown he scored as a 9-year-old in Lufkin, Texas.
Bryant insists he still gets the same adrenaline rush. Ask him about playing football and he'll tell you how much he loves the competition.
Talk to his teammates and coaches and they'll tell you no one practices harder. They'll tell you he is beloved in the locker room and on a never-ending quest to be a great player.
We're not talking about a selfish player -- a guy who's more interested in his numbers than winning.
This ain't charismatic Terrell Owens dividing a locker room.
Bryant was one of the first players to congratulate Terrance Williams after the rookie scored on a 60-yard touchdown pass.
Still, Bryant can't take his relationship with Romo for granted.
He must treat it with respect.
"The relationship is outstanding and it's going to forever remain that way," Bryant said. "From the looks of it, I guess it don't look good, but to me, it's looks.
"Tony and I both know -- and the rest of these guys know -- it's passion. It's about going out there and trying to do what you can do."
That's fine as long as everyone feels the same way.
"There's no regrets. It's all love," Bryant said. "Like I said, I know it looks crazy, but I promise you all it's not."
For now, we can accept that. Everyone makes mistakes.
Smart folks learn from them.