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Dez Bryant’s Excuses a Real Issue for Cowboys

Mauricio Rodriguez

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After a poor performance in the game that eliminated the Dallas Cowboys from playoff contention, Dez Bryant has been one of the most talked-about players in Cowboys Nation. Understandably so. Coming into the season, our expectations around the chemistry we all thought Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant had developed were too high.

The truth is, they don't have said chemistry. The Cowboys found that out the hard way this season, as the passing game never got to be "good enough." Now, questions arise. Should Dallas get rid of Dez Bryant and his $70M contract? Is it all his fault? Is it all Dak's fault? What about the scheme, does he fit in this offense?

I will say this. As a young fan, Dez Bryant became one of my favorite players when watching the Cowboys play every Sunday. His passion, his big catches and the amazing moments he and Tony Romo made possible were captivating for me.

But I won't lie. I don't feel the same as before about 88. Times have changed. The Cowboys' QB position has changed. His production has changed.

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Dez still has his moments every once in a while, though. His record-setting touchdown against the Redskins was one of them. His 50-yard touchdown catch versus the Giants was another one. But when you realize how many passes he's dropping, how many times he fails to get open... it gets tough. Last week, he wasn't able to catch a ball that despite not being a perfect pass, hit both of his hands and ended up being tipped in the air and intercepted by Seattle.

Earlier, he fumbled in a crucial moment of the game. It has come to a point in which we have to question, is Dez even worth the money he is being paid? I truly believe that he isn't.

The first thing that people argue at this point, is the fact that Dak Prescott is not the kind of QB who will throw a contested ball, which is where Dez excels. Well, they're right.

Dak has a long way to go. I think that Prescott, despite having a tough season, is the guy who will lead Dallas for a long time. This wasn't his best season, but at the end of the day he's a second year QB who missed his superstar RB for six games, almost got killed by his backup left tackles, and saw his defense crumble to pieces without Sean Lee.

Dez Bryant, Dak Prescott

He's the future. Yes, he deserves a big part of the blame. His play this year was far from great. That doesn't mean it's the end of his career though. It doesn't mean that the Cowboys have to move on. He's an NFL quarterback. It takes time. There is a learning curve.

Which naturally brings us to the inevitable Tony Romo mentions.

"He was good with Tony, so that means the problem is Dak, not Dez", some say. I understand that. Failing to recognize that Dak doesn't take the risks Romo once did would be foolish.

However, look at DeAndre Hopkins. Look at Larry Fitzgerald. The guys who throw them the ball are not even close to being "special QBs". Yet they continue to be elite WRs. Year after year. As I said before, I was once a huge Dez Bryant fan, but he's far from a top WR right now. Is it possible that his chemistry with Romo was actually that good?

It's been 21 straight games without more than 100 yards for Dez. I don't care who's throwing him the football, if he really was an "elite WR", he wouldn't be struggling this much. It's ridiculous.

Last year, it looked like Dez was still a very good receiver stuck with a rookie QB who wasn't taking many risks. Right now it just feels like Bryant isn't as good as before. It feels like the Cowboys could do better.

Number 88 had a lot to say on Wednesday when he met with the media, and frankly I don't know what to make of it. While Bryant is trying to offer reasons as to why he hasn't played at the level he's supposed to be, the only thing I can see are excuses.

David Moore on Twitter

Dez Bryant said he had been bothered by tendinitis since early November. Said he was surprised no one knew. It has never appeared on Cowboys injury report and he hasn't spoken about it until Wednesday.

This is what stuck out to me the most. Really? He's been injured since November and this is the first time we hear about it? NFL teams actually don't mind players being in the injury report because it messes with opposing teams' game-planning, but somehow we never heard of this?

Are Dez Bryant's Strengths, Dak Prescott's Weaknesses?At times, it feels like it's always something with Dez. There's always an injury we haven't heard about. Maybe I'm getting carried away, but I'm not buying it. I don't think an injury is the reason for his declining production.

Dez also mentioned that he planned to talk to Jerry Jones about the scheme. What? Shouldn't he be talking to his coach? What does he want to talk to Jerry about? I mean, I don't think his fumble and his drops last week had anything to do with a scheme.

I'm aware of his talent. I'm aware of the fact that he may just shake it all off and be the awesome WR he once was as soon as next year. He's a passionate player and things get on his mind. You don't know when he'll bounce back. From one second to another, his level can change completely.

But when you're paying a player the amount of money Dallas is paying him, is it worth it? Is it worth not knowing if he'll ever get back to being the amazing play-maker as before? Is it worth it if "things can get on his mind" in one of the biggest games of the season, an elimination game?

The Cowboys will need that cap space soon.

David Irving, Zack Martin, DeMarcus Lawrence and Anthony Hitchens are just a few names that this front office will have to look at pretty soon. Maybe the Cowboys should do something about Dez. At this point, I think he either takes a pay cut or he stops playing for the Cowboys.

I can't believe I'm saying this after years of idolizing him, but I wouldn't mind if Dez played his last game with a star on his helmet this Sunday. It's the scheme, it's an injury, it's things getting in his mind... or is it just excuses for a guy who isn't the same wide receiver he once was?

Tell me what you think about "Dez Bryant’s Excuses a Real Issue for Cowboys" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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9 Comments
  • sangerchris

    Even when Dez was good he dropped
    Passes. I love the cowboys but its time to find us a new #1 no room for a crying baby
    Making excuses blaming someone else U have disgraced the #88

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      To me, it’s hard to think this way of a player who was always one of my favorites. Sadly, it may be time for him to part ways with the Cowboys. Thank you for reading.

  • Msbullie

    Dez has no one to blame but himself. He might want to take a lesson from his quarterback who never has nor ever will make excuses. Our Dak’s work ethic is something that would behoove others to follow. I cannot wait until next season when hopefully our Dak isn’t running for his life and can have time to complete passes to his receivers who darned well better be ready to catch them. #Dak4 #HailState

    • dallas1966

      Dak needs to keep the Mississippi State Dak from rearing its ugly head. Dak needs to continue to work on his accuracy and anticipation, if he wants to lead this team, out of NFL Purgatory of mediocrity , to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
      Hopefully, the Cowboys will bring back Quarterback whisper Mark Sanchez, and hire Jon Kita, as a Quarterback quality control specialist , to work with Dak, away from the coaching staff, to enhance Dak’s weakness into a strength, such as accuracy and anticipation.

      • Mauricio Rodriguez

        Dak’s development must certainly improve. I’m convinced he’ll be a good QB down the road. Despite a tough season, I’m sure he’ll be fine.

      • Tone’ Cyphers

        Huh? Mark Sanchez? Why would he need advice from a bad QB? I’d understand getting advice from Romo since he knows how to work this offense and is a student of the game. There’s no way I want Sanchez close to Dak. Now Kitna.. that’s not a bad idea. That dude always played with passion and heart. I actually would like Kitna on the sidelines.

  • dallas1966

    Great Article. I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of Dez. Despite his being in denial, he is a shell of himself. I can’t believe that Jerry [rose colored glasses] Jones, still believes that Dez, still have the juice, after watching Dez, the past 3 seasons. Dez, hasn’t been the same since breaking his foot and coming back too early to play in 2015. I think it was Rodney White, of the Atlanta Falcons, that warned Dez, about taking the rest of the season off, instead of trying to play on a broken foot, and that it would take sometime to getting back to the norm.

    We’re now seeing the results of that decision that Dez made in 2015.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      It’s been a tough stretch since signing that contract. Let’s hope things turn out for the best, you bring up an interesting topic about his early return in 2015. Thanks for reading!

  • Gary Stevens

    Dez is not worth what his contract suggests. His skills have diminished to the point he gets irritated and starts looking for excuses. He is getting more like TO got toward the end of his career! I believe it is time for the Cowboys to move forward without him in their future. Can he still make a great catch occasionally? Of course he can, but not consistently.

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Maliek Collins Playing Excellent for Cowboys Defense

John Williams

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Maliek Collins

For the Dallas Cowboys on the interior, a lot of the news consistently surround the availability of Defensive Tackle David Irving, but Maliek Collins is playing excellent right now. While I'm willing to be very patient with Irving because of the elite talent he brings, Maliek Collins should continue to start for the Dallas Cowboys at 3-technique defensive tackle.

Collins has been a player that the Cowboys have bounced between the nose tackle and the 3T position with the hopes of getting their best players on the field, and because of the lack of a consistent presence at the 1-technique or nose tackle position. Well, with Antwaun Woods taking control at the 1T, Collins has been able to play at the position where he's at his best. The 3-tech.

He hasn't put huge numbers in the sack column this season, but that doesn't mean he's been absent from being the disruptive player he's been through his first two and a half seasons.

During the Dallas Cowboys five game winning streak, Maliek Collins has led the Dallas Cowboys defensive tackles in total pressures with 13, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF combines sacks, quarterback hits, and hurries into their "pressures." Collins hasn't recorded a sack during the winning streak, but he has four quarterback hits and nine hurries. He's tied with Tyrone Crawford for third in total pressures behind DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory over the last five weeks.

Over the last five weeks, Collins leads the defensive tackles in solo tackles with five and is tied with Crawford and Antwaun Woods with three run stops on defense, according to Pro Football Focus. Collins has also has two tackles for loss in the last five games and recovered Tyrone Crawford's force fumble on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Collins had six sacks in his rookie season when he played primarily as the 3T, which allowed him to see more one-on-one blocks against opposing interior offensive linemen. Especially with the way the rest of the defensive line is playing.

With the Cowboys on the road to face the Indianapolis Colts this week, Collins is going to have a tough matchup with a very good Colts offensive line, in particular, rookie Quentin Nelson. Collins ability to get pressure on Andrew Luck on the interior is a huge key for the Dallas Cowboys this week. We know that Gregory and Lawrence will get their pressures, but if Andrew Luck is able to step up into a clean pocket, it will make for a much more challenging game for the Cowboys secondary.

Collins has proved to be up to any task over the last five weeks and if he's able to keep playing at such a high level, he'll make the Cowboys coaching staff, and the rest of Cowboys Nation forget about using other defensive tackles. For the Cowboys to make a deep push in the playoffs, they'll need Collins to be a big time player for them moving forward.



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Amari Cooper Wins 2nd NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of 2018

Jess Haynie

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Amari Cooper

For the second time in just three weeks, Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Cooper scored three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime, to lead the Cowboys to victory last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has 10 catches for 217 yards, which led all NFL receivers last week.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

After his record-setting performance during week 14, @AmariCooper9 is the FIRST #DallasCowboys to win NFC Player of the Week twice in a season! → https://t.co/kvBDIeOgBd #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote

As the official website stated, Cooper is the first Cowboy to win the award twice in the same year. He's also the first Cowboy to be named Offensive Player of the Week since Ezekiel Elliott in 2016.

Before this year, Elliott was the only Dallas player to win the Offensive award in three seasons. Cooper has now done it twice in three weeks.

Since being traded to the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has amassed 40 catches for 642 yards and six touchdowns.

His wasted time in Oakland may keep Cooper out of the Pro Bowl this year, but he's already become a fan favorite in Cowboys Nation. Congratulations to Amari for another well-deserved award!



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David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?

Sean Martin

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David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?

Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle David Irving, once a key member of the team's defense, will not make his return after all against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. For the second straight week, Irving was reportedly trending towards suiting up before being ruled out. The Cowboys haven't missed his unique presence for 13 weeks (playing against the Jaguars and Redskins), including through an ongoing four game win streak that began with a win against these Eagles on the road.

In that road win, veteran Tyrone Crawford recorded a sack and three tackles, while Antwaun Woods added two for a Dallas defense that held Philadelphia to 23 first downs and 71 rushing yards. The Eagles managed to cross the Cowboys' 30-yard line just four times.

There are many scenarios in which the Cowboys could have cut ties with Irving for not being worth the off-field trouble he's caused - beginning the season with a four game suspension. The absolute best case scenario is what they've realized amidst this turnaround, with other defensive linemen taking advantage of the opportunity left behind by Irving.

While it can still be true that Irving would make more splash plays than the likes of Crawford, Woods, Maliek Collins, and Caraun Reid, this defensive tackle group deserves praise for their ability to step in. Pass rush ability is one thing teams can't have enough of, and the Cowboys are missing some with Irving, finding ways to win thanks to the other traits these defenders bring to the table.

Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard may effectively be the team's defensive coordinator with an emphasis on the back seven, but DC Rod Marinelli's impact is still felt - particularly up front. Regardless of where they're lined up and deployed, the Cowboys front four is expected to be disruptive on every snap, something this scrappy unit excels at.

Prepared once again to play on the edge this season, Crawford is thriving at his original position of 3T-DT. Crawford has two sacks, nine total tackles, and three other hits on the quarterback over the past four weeks. Leading by example with a relentless spirit on every play, Crawford has meant just as much to the Cowboys defensive ends as Irving could.

In a short period of time, the Cowboys have gone from building up Irving thanks to his transcendent ability to make those around him better to simply -- and importantly -- being better across the defense.

Led by DeMarcus Lawrence as their premier rusher, the Cowboys defensive line is a lot for opposing offenses to contain. The "Hot Boyz" work up front has allowed Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch to play fast and make plays all over the field.

Maliek Collins, battling back from his second broken foot in three years, is proving again he's a patented Marinelli guy. Collins' play speaks for itself when considering if the Nebraska product is best as a 3T or 1T tackle. Wherever he's asked to play, Collins creates penetration with an explosive first step and can finish at the quarterback with an array of power rush moves.

At 7-5 and fighting for their playoff lives, the Cowboys are done making excuses on the 2018 season. Their strides on defense speak for themselves, and with a group that keeps Dallas in every game they'll play, the door remains open for David Irving to earn snaps again when ready.

The Cowboys don't know any better than their play without Irving right now, and as winners of four straight, it's worth questioning if we'll see Irving over the last three weeks of the regular season.

Tell us what you think about "David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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