When other fans think of Dez Bryant, they probably think of a guy that has not warranted an excess amount of praise, with a 2015 season that never got off the ground thanks to injuries to not only Bryant, but his quarterback Tony Romo.
Then there was Sunday's 2016 opener, which should force Cowboys Nation to come to terms with the facts about Dez Bryant. Yes, Bryant was playing without Romo once again, but Dak Prescott does not compare to Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassell, or Kellen Moore.
Prescott did enough to win this game, despite having to drop back 45 times, and only being able to connect with Dez on one reception of eight yards – occurring on the game's first play from scrimmage.
Dak Prescott needed Dez Bryant yesterday at AT&T Stadium, and he was simply nowhere to be found.
When Bryant did make an appearance, it was solely on vertical routes down the field, which did result in Dez having a touchdown reception overturned, and later having one broken up on a throw that forced him up the field.
At the end of the day, this was a one point loss for the Dallas Cowboys, with a rookie starting at quarterback and running back. Naturally, the blame for falling just short falls on a multitude of factors. There was also plenty of things to look forward to with the Cowboys coming out of this game – one of them hopefully being Dez Bryant.
We all were willing to give Bryant a pass for 2015, with the expectation that he would make 2016 his year.
We also know that when Dez Bryant wants something – like he does a bounce back 2016 season – he is not often denied. Janoris Jenkins and the over rated Giants' secondary denied Dez Bryant of a chance to put the Cowboys at 1-0 heading to Washington for another key NFC East game. How will Bryant respond with the Cowboys in danger of falling to 0-2 overall, and 0-2 in the NFC East, on Sunday?
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 20, 2016
These quotes are from August 20th, and show that Bryant failed yesterday to – by his own standards – do his job.
While the film will likely show what I saw watching this game live, Bryant was again primarily used as a decoy to set up the run far too often. The Dallas run game is going to improve with Ezekiel Elliott as the season goes on, but Bryant will also continue to see plenty of opportunities to make lasting impacts on what the Cowboys' 2016 season is going to be.
Outside of the offensive line play, which was below its normal level, the Cowboys' rushing attack faltered simply because the Giants made it their top priority to stop the run. In doing so, they comfortably stacked the box against Elliott and Alfred Morris, forcing a WR like Bryant to beat them over the top. Instead, Prescott's longest completion went to TE Geoff Swaim for 21 yards.
For now, Dez Bryant's season draws flashbacks to a dreadful 2015. Josh Norman and the Redskins await, and my money is on Dez Bryant and the entire offense to bounce back in a big way in support of Dak Prescott.