Sometimes an injury to a specific player can be a blessing in disguise. That player has to miss important time on the practice field and it gives other players the opportunity to step up and receive extra repetitions, hopefully developing a bond with their teammates.
That is exactly what the Dallas Cowboys are hoping with their top wide receiver Dez Bryant not practicing during organized team activities (OTA’s) and mini-camp practices.
Fortunately though, all signs point to Bryant being on schedule with his recovery from off-season foot and ankle surgery.
Dez Bryant said he’ll be 100% cleared & ready at start of training camp. No mandatory rehab plan over break. Plans to workout with Romo Sat
With #88 on schedule to be ready to participate once training camp officially kicks off, all the others receivers on the roster need to realize that they need to start taking full advantage of every practice rep they receive if they want to contribute in 2016.
Wide receiver Brice Butler in particular might be the one player that could benefit from Bryant’s absence the most. With Bryant not practicing, Butler has been running with the first-team offense opposite Terrance Williams.
Butler showed flashes in the 2015 season that he can take the top off of the defense with his speed and that is something that the Cowboys offense is lacking. It has even been said that he could challenge Williams for that #2 wide receiver spot.
I’m not quite ready to anoint Butler yet, but these practice reps with the first team offense and more importantly quarterback Tony Romo will only help his case to receive more playing time.
Williams already has his quarterbacks trust and they have developed a really good working bond with each other. If Butler wants to take his game to the next level he will have to use these extra practice reps that he has been receiving to develop a chemistry with Romo.
Of course, Butler isn’t the only one trying to take advantage of Bryant’s absence. Wide receiver Vince Mayle has also been catching everything that’s been thrown his way, including the eye of the coaching staff.
Mayle was drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, but they ended up making him one of their final cuts and released him in September.
The Dallas Cowboys signed him to the practice squad a day later and that’s where he spent the majority of his 2015 season.
The Cowboys were patient with Mayle’s development and it might just pay off for the 6’2″, 225 pound wide receiver.
Mayle’s size is an advantage over several of the WRs on the Cowboys roster and he could use that advantage to become another red zone threat for the Cowboys offense.
Don’t expect Dez Bryant to let missing these practices stand in his way of once again establishing himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
In fact, both Bryant and Tony Romo are already planning ahead.
Dez Bryant said he and Tony Romo will get together to work between end of minicamp and start of training camp. Already have dates set.
This should come as encouraging news to anyone that is a fan of the Cowboys, especially after what we all witnessed in 2015 from the wide receivers and quarterback play without Bryant and Romo in the lineup.
We all know that the Cowboys offense will more than likely have to carry the team much like they did in 2014 when they last made the playoffs. So, having your top two offensive players back to 100% and maintaining their focus on strengthening their relationship should get you really excited about what’s to come in 2016.
Who do you think might benefit the most from Dez Bryant’s absence?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic so we can discuss it further.