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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
Breaking: Cowboys Acquire Amari Cooper for 2019 1st Round Pick
The Dallas Cowboys are recovering from a disappointing loss to the Washington Redskins, but that hasn't stopped them from being aggressive to try to salvage a 3-4 season. It looks like the Dallas Cowboys are going all-in on Dak Prescott for 2018 and 2019 to see if they can return him to his 2016 form. It's being reported by Josina Anderson that the Dallas Cowboys are set to acquire former first round pick and Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver Amari Cooper.
Breaking: A source tells me that WR Amari Cooper will be traded to the Dallas #Cowboys.
Amari Cooper has been the subject of a lot of trade discussion over the last week and a half and it looks like he's going to be coming to Dallas to help solidify their wide receiver group. Adam Schefter from ESPN is reporting that the compensation the Dallas Cowboys are sending for Cooper is a first round pick.
Cowboys traded a first-round pick to Raiders for WR Amari Cooper, per source.
That's way more than I was wanting to spend to get him in here, but Cooper is just 24 years old. He's playing in his fourth NFL season and has averaged After posting 1,000 yard seasons in each of his first two years in the NFL, Cooper fell back down to earth in 2017 with only 680 yards on 48 catches. He did have seven touchdowns last year and did that in only 14 games.
In 2018, he's averaging 4.4 receptions per game for 56 yards and has one touchdown on the season. On a Oakland Raiders offense that is struggling, Cooper is second in targets, third in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. It's bold move for a player that has had his fair share of drops in his career, though he seems to have gotten better in that area.
Despite a pretty good game from the wide receiver trio of Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, and Allen Hurns, it looks like the Dallas Cowboys are dissatisfied. Over the last few years teams like the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles have taken chances on acquiring players via trade and it's worked out well for them. The Dallas Cowboys are certainly taking a big risk, but Amari Cooper has the talent worth taking a chance on.
With the Cowboys heading into the bye week and in need of an offensive spark, if they were going to try to salvage their season, they needed to make a move. It can be debated that the price was too high, but Cooper instantly makes this offense better.
Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases Ahead of Trade Deadline
This week, Stephen Jones discussed the difficulties of making a trade, saying "it just seems like in the NFL trades are hard to make, to make it all come together for two teams".
The two teams that could be lining up to change that are of course Jones' Cowboys as well as John Gruden's Oakland Raiders. Yet another Raiders player has been in the headlines as a trade target, 24-year old Wide Receiver Amari Cooper.
WR-needy Cowboys doing their due diligence on Raiders' WR Amari Cooper: https://t.co/pE2wmrzCXu
Playing at the Washington Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys will have yet another reshuffled lineup at wide receiver, playing without Tavon Austin. Their biggest offseason addition to this unit was Allen Hurns, and he's been underwhelming with just eight catches.
Thus the Cowboys are reportedly doing their "due diligence" on Cooper, sensing the need for a mid-season acquisition at WR for the right price. The Cowboys ability to potentially find that price in a deal advantageous to them, given how the Raiders handled the departure of Khalil Mack in a trade to this Chicago Bears, is what makes this story relevant.
A lot has been said about Cooper since his name emerged as the latest player potentially out of the Bay Area. Whether you believe he's still an impact receiver with the potential to regain his Pro Bowl form of 2015 and 2016 or one that "doesn't love football," as some have been inclined to say, the former fourth overall pick represents an investment into the WR position that the Cowboys have not made in some time.
In those Pro Bowl seasons, Cooper averaged over 77 catches a season while putting up over 1,000 yards in both. The Raiders have used this to justify their reported asking price of a first-round pick for Cooper, something the Cowboys are not alone in their reluctance to give.
With Cooper, the Raiders are holding onto their last bit of relevancy. A reeling 1-5 football team that needs to maximize their return on trading Cooper, the Colts and Redskins are also following in the Cowboys footsteps by preparing as much as they can on the player.
Cooper has caught 22 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown through six games this season.
For as desperate as the Raiders are to jump-start their organization, the Cowboys should be just as desperate to add a threat like Cooper to their passing attack. Unlike the Raiders, they're in the hunt for a division title, something much harder to put a price on when it comes to the Jones' finalizing any deal for Cooper in the coming days.
The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, October 30th, at 3 PM Central Time. The Cowboys will be two days into their bye week, not in action again after Sunday until November 5th.
Cowboys WR Tavon Austin Skipping Surgery, May Return in 2018
A groin injury sustained last week against Jacksonville won't send Tavon Austin to injured reserve, at least for now. The Dallas Cowboys receiver has elected to forego surgery at this time, giving him a chance to return to action in 2018.
There was concern that Austin could land on IR initially following the Jaguars game, but he sought a second opinion this week. It appears that this new information was enough for Tavon and the Cowboys to decide that surgery can wait.
Sounds like WR Tavon Austin will not have surgery at this time after getting a second opinion on his groin injury. He could miss a few weeks, however. #cowboyswire
Austin should miss this Sunday's game with the Washington Redskins. He has been the team's punt returner this season and a useful tool on offense, playing mostly receiver but also lining up the backfield at times.
Despite his limited opportunities, Tavon is tied with Cole Beasley for the team lead with two receiving touchdowns in 2018.
How long Austin will remain out is unknown at this time. After the Washington game, Dallas will have their bye week and then host the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football.
Both of these are games that the Cowboys, feeling good after a blowout victory over Jacksonville, should be able to win without Austin. But they would certainly like him back for the Week 10 road game with the Philadelphia Eagles.
In Tavon's absence, Cole Beasley will likely field punts. We may see more of Deonte Thompson in the speed routes that Austin ran on offense, though Dallas could also finally see what recently returned Brice Butler has to offer.
With an expiring contract this year, Tavon will likely want to get back soon and trying to improve his stock for the 2019 offseason. Hopefully, he can still have a positive impact on his value and the Cowboys season in the weeks ahead.
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