In an article published today, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer quoted a Dallas Cowboys staff member who was critical of the performance of receiver Dez Bryant. The comment is indicative of what appears to be a movement by some in the organization to move on from Bryant.
The article contained the following quote from the unnamed Cowboys employee:
“Based on last year, he does very few things really well.”
Opinions on Bryant’s performance level, and his prospects for the future, vary greatly between sports media members and Cowboys fans. It wouldn’t be surprising that the same divide exists in the team’s front office.
There is a rising belief that the two biggest voices in the organization, Jerry Jones and his son Stephen, are on opposite sides of the Dez Bryant issue. The assumption is that Jerry wants to keep Dez, as he is generally loyal even to a fault, and that Stephen is ready to shed Bryant’s contract and move the team forward.
Of course, we don’t know who the quote actually came from or what position they hold. But they’d hardly be the first to cite Bryant’s declining performance, or the lack of versatility in his game.
Dez has never been known for having an array of skills or being a polished receiver. He made his name on sheer athleticism and the ability to make big dazzling plays with physical ability. His routes have always been sloppy for a player of his reputation.
With those physical gifts waning, Bryant’s lack of technique is becoming more of a problem. He cannot get open as reliably anymore, and that creates problems for his young quarterback who relies on timing to execute the offense.
The last three years have had plenty of x-factors, which have led to some excuses for Dez’ decline. In 2015 it was Tony Romo’s injury, 2016 saw Bryant having knee issues, and last year was overall offensive decline without Ezekiel Elliott.
Ultimately, the role that any of these played is a matter of personal opinion. One fact is undeniable, though, and that’s that Bryant turns 30 in November.
The Cowboys have the luxury of waiting now to decide Dez Bryant’s future. They don’t need to do anything before the draft, and perhaps want to wait and see what that weekend brings before parting ways with Bryant.
Even if nothing happens, this comment shows that some in the organization have lost faith in the team’s top receiver. We’ll see what comes of it.