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What Cowboys, Dez Bryant Must Prove Against Cardinals

The led Rams and Brian Hoyer quarterbacked 49ers combined for 80 points last night on , only further driving home the absurdity that is the weekly tradition of “Overreaction Monday” around the National Football League.

This Monday, it was the widespread talk of impending doom for a stacked Cowboys that was shut down in a 42-17 loss at the Broncos that had many in anxiously awaiting the new opportunity that week three in Arizona will present.

While it is smart to say that things can only go up from here for Dallas offensively, the Cowboys may have to rely on moving the football for another game without elite production from WR . Preparing to face Patrick Peterson of the Cardinals after seeing and Aquib Talib to start the season, the Cowboys need to prove that they can either scheme their top receiver into any game (like the defending Champion Falcons did with in 2016) or win consistently without Bryant dominating games.

With as his , Dez Bryant was actually targeted 16 times against the Broncos – a new career high for passes thrown from #4 to #88. Obviously, the production did not follow these targets as Bryant caught seven passes for 59 yards and a touchdown in the blowout loss.

Some of Bryant's most efficient games have come when he is not force-fed the ball, but rather used intelligently by Scott Linehan as a chess piece capable of taking the top off of a at any time or moving the chains underneath.

Putting Bryant in motion to free up the middle of the field, getting him away from physical boundary corners by lining him up in the slot, and keeping him mentally engaged by throwing some slant and screen patters his way are all ways that the Cowboys have found ways to win with and without Bryant carrying the offense.

Patrick Peterson is going to be yet another tough match up for Dez Bryant, as one of the most athletic cover corners in the NFL will combine aspects of what Jenkins and Talib have successfully down to slow down Bryant so far this season. With the ability to slow him down at the line, run with him to the boundary, effortlessly stay sticky on Bryant's physical in-cuts, and play the ball at its highest point in the air, Peterson will make nothing easy when Dak Prescott looks Bryant's way on Monday night.

What The Dallas Cowboys Offense Must Prove On Monday Night 1
WR Dez Bryant and QB Dak Prescott

One thing that did stand out was Bryant's touchdown from 2014 against Peterson though, as it reminded me exactly of the play he beat Talib on a week ago for his lone score of this young season (as I explained more in Sean's Scout).

Let's be real about one thing, Cowboys Nation. As excited as we are about 's defense slowly improving through the season thanks to the young talent the Cowboys added in the draft, it has been this team's offense all along that is the source of any aspirations the 2017 Cowboys may have.

There just aren't many offenses in the NFL that can play at a championship level without a dominant “X” receiver, which Dez Bryant absolutely still is. It may not show this week once again, but Monday night could be a great opportunity for the Cowboys to again prove they can at least utilize Bryant effectively and execute on offense both running the ball with and  throwing to targets that aren't Bryant.

In games where the Cowboys offense broke 30 points in 2016, Bryant averaged just under four receptions. A closer look at the film from these game would show a #88 that was still very much involved in the offense, which has not been the case through two games in 2017.

Patrick Peterson won't provide any relief on a brutal schedule of that Bryant has had the task of lining up against, but no matter the result he will need to help his young quarterback and get back on track to avoid consecutive losses.

Oh, and a breakout game from Dez Bryant in prime time could land him in elite company with Jerry Rice and . If anyone thinks the past two weeks have truly exposed one of the best WRs in football…

Sean Martin
Sean Martin
Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Good article Sean

Sean Martin

Thank you for reading!


I don’t mean to get off of the subject, but I have got to say this. I think Roger Goodell and the NFL are taking this suspension of Zeke a little to far. I mean there is no real evidence that he did anything and yet it seems that Goodell is really out to get him. Personally I think Goodell is the one who should be replaced. He sucks as the commissioner and always has, and probably always will. He is power hungry and he is so far off the mark in most of the decisions that he makes, he has made a mockery of the position of commisioner

Sean Martin

Well said, Corey.

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