So it seems as though the Dallas Cowboys are all about their quarterback, their running back and the offensive line. That’s how they are going to win games in 2017. Their defense will be a liability and thus ends the breakdown of the Cowboys.
Forgive me if I don’t believe in this theory as much as everyone else, because there is much more to it all. Yes, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and the boys up front will be a major part of the offense leading the way, but there is another weapon that should help the Cowboys as well, wide receiver Dez Bryant. When he re-emerges as a playmaker, the offense will be even better next season.
The last two years for Bryant haven’t been pretty and people blame the big contract or some type of laziness. However, if there is one thing no one can accuse the energetic receiver of, it’s being lazy. Bryant lives to play the game and loves to compete, so that excuse rings extremely hollow.
Smarter explanations are that he hasn’t been healthy and having five different starting quarterbacks in the last two years haven’t helped. No one throwing the ball assisted in Bryant’s cause in 2015 and there was an adjustment to Dak and Dez that took some time to develop last year. However, as Bryant got healthier last season, things finally began to click.
In Prescott’s first five starts with Dez Bryant, the pair averaged just 56.4 yards per game and had only two touchdowns. Those numbers were aided by two 100+ yard efforts, surrounded by three subpar games.
In the next eight starts (minus the season ender against the Eagles and adding the playoff game versus the Packers), Dak and Dez averaged 80.75 yards a game and Bryant caught eight touchdowns. That includes a major stinker against the New York Giants where Bryant only caught one pass for 10 yards; throw that out and Dez averaged over 90 yards per contest.
What a difference a little time together and a healthy player makes. Aside from the numbers, it was obvious to see when watching the games as well. As the season went on, you could see Prescott’s confidence in throwing to Bryant grow as the pair got into sync. The back shoulder throws that weren’t connecting early in the season were now working and Prescott learned that throwing to Dez in contested situations can be rewarding, there aren’t many better 50/50 ball receivers in the game than Bryant.
There’s no reason this success cannot continue. They have a full off-season to work together and Bryant is still in his prime at 28-years old. Dez has shown what kind of receiver he is when healthy for a full season, just look at his three straight seasons of at least 1,200 yards and double-digit touchdowns to see what he is capable of. The Cowboys might not throw as much as they did in his early years, but Bryant still has the talent to be a dominating receiver.
Dez Bryant will have a rebound season for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017. He is far from finished, is focused on returning to his Pro Bowl form and Dez’s play can elevate the offense to even greater heights this year.
Be on the lookout for more of the ‘X’ in 2017.
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