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Has Cowboys’ Wide Receiver Dez Bryant Finally Become Elite?



hi-res-153394783_crop_exactLast season there were legitimate questions about the future of Dez Bryant in Dallas.  Considering his off-the-field past and his inconsistency on the field those questions were warranted.

Then came 2012.

The 2012 season was incredible for fans that love Dez.  We literally watched him mature as a man and receiver right before our eyes.

After a slow first half of the season for Dez, which brought questions about his work ethic and commitment, he posted 50-receptions, 879 yards and 10 touchdowns the second half of the season.  Dez was the most productive wide receiver in the NFL through that span, period.

So it’s not inconceivable to ask if Dez has finally become elite.

Numbers aside, there is a whole lot to like about the newly developed game of Dez Bryant.

Dez has a ridiculous combination of size, speed and athleticism that makes him the best player on the field at all times.  He can out-wrestle, out-jump and out-run almost every player that he’s matched up against.

How can you guard that?

There was one weakness in his armor at one time.  He would occasionally get caught up in verbal altercations that where purposely planned to throw off his focus.  When this happened Dez would get lost in it all and disappear in games.

On November 22 something clicked though.  Dez was being harassed by Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall, and while it was evident he wanted to swing at him Dez decided to handle it on the field.  Dez would finish with eight catches, 145 yards and two touchdowns against Hall.

What happened after that may be the one thing that saves a Dallas Cowboys franchise from the infinite loop of questions and mediocrity that it’s been enduring since 1995.

Suddenly Dez was running clean routes, playing complete games and understanding defenses.  He was catching an above-average percentage of his targets. He had truly committed himself to the game.

As you watched Dez mature into this new type of player you got the feeling he was unstoppable.

Let me show you what I mean.

Here the Cowboys are playing a key game against the New Orleans Saints.  The Saints are playing man coverage with two safeties playing up top.

Crop Dez 1

Tony Romo snaps the ball, Dez runs a perfect slant route which allows him the advantage over the man coverage.

Dez_Saints 2

Dez plucks the ball safely out of the air in a position where the defender can’t make a play on it.


The defender tries to make the tackle but Dez’s strength and body control allow him to break free.

Dez_Saints 4

With the defender out of the play and Dez’s elite speed, he’ll go on to score the long touchdown.

Dez_Saints 5

Dez has become a unique receiver with a dominant skill-set.  At any point he can take over a game.

If the last half of 2012 is any indication the wait is over, Dez Bryant has become the elite receiver we have all hoped he’d become.

Better news?

Something tells me this is only the beginning.

Former Sports Writer. Veteran. Serving veterans is my passion. Johns Hopkins Student. Enjoy Discussing Politics and sports!

1 Comment
  • Shaleni McBain

    Great article. Really well put together and I liked your images regarding the play. As someone who has always had a soft-spot for Bryant it was really great to see him excel this past season and become the WR we all knew he could be. I definitely think this is just the beginning and he will continue to improve.

Dallas Cowboys

REPORT: Cowboys DL David Irving’s Accuser Retracts Claims Of Domestic Violence

Kevin Brady



David Irving

After what was a rather crazy day which resulted in reports the Frisco Police Department were investigating Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving for domestic violence, the accuser has now retracted her claims.

This retraction comes after the mentioned reports of domestic violence claims against David Irving earlier in the day. Irving was neither arrested nor charged for the incidents, though two separate allegations were made.

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms allegations made against Cowboys player David Irving were reported on April 22nd. At two separate times: 5pm & 10pm. Allegations made by girlfriend @wfaa

Irving has claimed through his own social media account that his accuser is an ex-girlfriend looking for retaliation over a breakup. Irving has already said he has changed the locks on his house in attempt to change behavior moving forward.

Whether or not Irving abused his reported ex-girlfriend is not for me to say, but it will be interesting to see how Roger Goodell handles the matter after she retracted her claims later in the day. As we know very well, the NFL can claim violation of the personal conduct policy even if the justice system pursues no charges.

And the results of both the Frisco PD's investigation and that of the league office will be intriguing over the coming weeks and months.

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Player News

REPORT: Cowboys DE/DT David Irving Suspected of Domestic Violence

Jess Haynie



David Irving

[4/24/18 UPDATE: Irving's accuser has since recanted with police. However, the NFL could still investigate under their domestic violence policy.]


Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving is under investigation by Frisco, TX police for charges of domestic violence, according to a report by Jobin Panicker of WFAA-ABC in Dallas.

The following was tweeted from Panicker's account not long ago:

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms it is investigating serious allegations against Cowboys player David Irving. No arrests. Assault-Bodily Injury, Unlawful Restraint, & Assault-Impeding Breath and Circulation @wfaa

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms allegations made against Cowboys player David Irving were reported on April 22nd. At two separate times: 5pm & 10pm. Allegations made by girlfriend @wfaa

The veracity of the accusations are certainly not ours to judge, but other recent events on Irving's social suggest he is in the middle of a breakup with his girlfriend. Posts early this morning on his Twitter account appeared to be from an unauthorized user, and David later posted on both Twitter and Instagram that someone had hacked him.

Furthermore, Irving shared that he was already taking steps due to the volatile situation.

David Ja Rodd Irving on Twitter

@DCBlueStar Changed the locks yesterday

While personal lives should stay that way, Cowboys fans are understandably concerned after what happened last year with Ezekiel Elliott. As we saw then, Roger Goodell's "justice" system allows for just an accusation to lead to a suspension. There is no burden of proof on the accuser.

And as in that case, even if the police dismiss the allegation, the NFL can still pursue the matter under the personal conduct and domestic violence policies.

It would be nice to just say "let the process play out," but the NFL commissioner doesn't hold himself to that standard. Therefore, we have to report this as it could mean consequences for David Irving and the Dallas Cowboys no matter how legitimate the claims are.

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Player News

Jaylon Smith Practicing Without AFO Brace

John Williams



Jaylon Smith Voted Cowboys' Ed Block Courage Award Winner 1

A lot of the talk circling the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL Draft is the need for the Cowboys to draft a linebacker as insurance to Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith's injury issues.

One of the questions, Sean Lee, will always be a question. When he's on the field, he's as good a linebacker as there is in the NFL. In 2016, he finally got in a near full season and rewarded the Dallas Cowboys with an All-Pro season that led the team to the playoffs. Talent has never been the issue with Lee. Keeping him on the field has been.

Jaylon Smith's question isn't his health as much as it is his recovery. The surgery to repair his ACL and MCL that he suffered at the end of his final season at Notre Dame was considered a success. There was a caveat, however, that there was no telling how much functionality would return because of the massive nerve injury that occurred.

Last year, Jaylon Smith actually played football games. No small step. In some games he made some plays and in other games, it was clear that he was still struggling with changing directions and running with receivers and running backs in coverage.

Time is Jaylon's biggest ally and another offseason removed from his injury should only help him get stronger and more confident in his recovering knee.

Lost in all of the Dez Bryant hoopla was a beautiful little nugget that Jaylon Smith teased Cowboys Nation with last week.

Jaylon provided a great look at his training regimen on the first day of team workouts and if you look closely, you'll see with a Clear Eye View that Jaylon Smith isn't wearing a brace, tape, or any other kind of support. On his knee or foot.

Jaylon Smith on Twitter

Focused vision, Determined belief, Earned dreams. #ClearEyeView

Remember that even after Jaylon was playing and practicing without a knee brace, he was still requiring an AFO brace to help with his foot drop.

Oh, how much one offseason can change things.

Mike Fisher, now of, quoted Smith as saying, "I have more power and more flexibility now. And the dropfoot (issue) is fading. Absolutely!'' over on, and there was this:

"As our colleague Bryan Broaddus has previously noted, it does seem that some of the testing is behind him, that the nerve is regenerating, that the repaired knee is stronger than ever and that more improvement is ahead of him. Smith's 6-2, 245-pound body is about as sculpted as is imaginable. His mind is sculpted, too, the result of his faith and his intellect and his personality and more. He suggests now that more improvement is inevitable, and that includes the medical improvement that is now, to him, simply "a matter of timing.'''

Mike Fisher - 105.3 The Fan and

There is still a lot of hope around The Star and Cowboys Nation that Jaylon Smith can return to the All-American form that was projecting him as a top-five talent in the 2016 NFL Draft. If he's healthy and moving with better lateral movement and agility than he was in 2017, that's a huge step forward for Jaylon Smith and the Dallas Cowboys.

The progression of his knee and his confidence in said knee is going to be a huge determining factor in Dallas' plans to draft a linebacker. If they feel confident that he will be a more functional linebacker in 2018 than he was in 2017, then perhaps they could wait until day two or three to address the linebacker position.

We can't fully know their intentions as we get closer to draft day. How they address the linebacker position in the 2018 NFL Draft could give us an excellent indication of how they feel about Jaylon Smith's progression.

What we do know is that Jaylon Smith will never give up working toward being an elite middle linebacker. Let's hope he can realize his dreams. Everyone will be better for it.

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