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Fact Or Fiction: Dez Bryant Clears The Way For Other Targets

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Headlines - Dez Bryant Has Hairline Fracture, Hopeful To Play Sunday In San Francisco

Let's just be honest, Dez Bryant had nowhere near the game against the Browns that we expected him to have.

Yes, the Cowboys won the game 35-10 and yes they are 7-1, but it was still somewhat troubling to read Bryant's final stat line.

1 catch for 19 yards.

Not exactly the type of day you'd expect out of your star wide receiver. Many around the Cowboys believe that Bryant's influence on the offense goes beyond a simple stat line, however. They say that Dez draws more attention from the defense, allowing other guys to work one on one or sometimes even be forgotten about. When this happens, you see Jason Witten go for over 100 yards like he did on Sunday.

I tend to agree with these statements, but I wanted to check the tape to see just how true they are.

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On Jason Witten's first touchdown of the game, the proclaimed "Dez apologists" are correct. Bryant (bottom of the screen) draws man to man coverage, but the Browns also bring a safety over-top of him just in case. The rest of the defense appears to be in zone, but Cleveland made sure to account for Dez. It should be noted that the corner at the top of the screen follows Terrance Williams as well, but I am inclined to believe that was a mistake.

On the other side, newly traded for Jamie Collins is left to deal with Witten alone. This leads to a breakdown in coverage, and an easy touchdown for the veteran.

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On Cole Beasley's touchdown later in the game we see Dez's influence once again.

The Cowboys stack Dez and Beasley, then Dez runs an in while Beasley runs an out. It is a relatively simple concept, but the Browns get confused pretty easily. Dez draws the attention of both the corner who is locked up on him, and the safety. This allows Beasley to work one on one in the red zone, which this season has been like stealing.

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On this play the Cowboys decide to move Dez into the slot for a change. The Browns bring pressure and keep their two middle defenders in zone coverage. Dez does a nice job of getting over-top the linebackers, and finds a soft spot in that zone.

Dak Prescott, who has been good all year, just misses Dez here. Maybe he didn't want to take a chance over the middle of the field, so instead he goes to Williams in man coverage, but sails the ball out of the end zone.

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This time the Browns adjust to Dez in the slot, and run man coverage. It is not truly a one on one situation however, as the Browns also designate a safety to follow Dez across the field. With Dez drawing two defenders, Witten is able to beat the linebacker easily across the field, and get in for the touchdown.

A few times, the Browns did just leave Dez one on one with their cornerback. Too often, he did not create enough space to give Dak the confidence to throw him the ball, or Dak just simply missed him.

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On Dez's first and only catch of the game, he is locked up in man coverage with Joe Haden. Haden did a nice job all game on Bryant, but Dez wins here. Dak trusts that Dez can make a play, and delivers the ball right on time.

Dez is not an excellent route runner, but he has always been able to win those 50/50 balls when they came his way. So far, it is safe to say that Dak is less likely to take a chance on a throw like that than Tony Romo was. And it might be hurting Dez's stats, for what it's worth.

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Dez is once again working against man coverage on this play, and once again he does win. He creates enough separation that had Dak had time to throw the ball, it would/should have gone to Bryant.

Instead, Dak is flushed out to his left, sees green grass in front of him and takes off for the first down. It was the right play to make, but Dez grades out as a winner on this snap as well.

In conclusion, everyone needs to stop worrying about Dez Bryant's stats. Against the Eagles he went for over 100 yards and a touchdown in a win, and people complained he was targeted too much. Against the Browns they complain he's not targeted enough after just one catch. To be honest, if it weren't for a missed pass interference call, Dez would have scored a touchdown Sunday as well.

Dez is still playing at a high level, and can still be trusted to make plays. The Cowboys are 7-1 and absolutely rolling through teams, and that is all that matters.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday

Brian Martin

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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday

According to Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys have a meeting scheduled to visit with Free Agent Safety Eric Berry Tuesday at The Star.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Source: Former #Chiefs S and new free agent Eric Berry is visiting the #Cowboys on Tuesday. His first visit. They have a need there...

Eric Berry has spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs after they drafted him fifth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. After signing Earl Thomas last week, the Chiefs decided to part ways with their former All-Pro Safety.

Berry, 30 is an intriguing free agent for the Dallas Cowboys. When healthy, he is arguably one of the best safeties in the league. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field these last few seasons causing him to only start in only three games since 2016.

This is a move many of us expected to happen after the Cowboys decided not to get into a bidding war for Earl Thomas, a player linked to Dallas for over a year now. In Berry, Cowboys Nation would be getting a similar player with the same kind of red flags. Both Thomas and Berry have to be approached with caution due to their injury history the past few years.

Depending on his asking price, Eric Berry absolutely makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys. He would be an upgrade over Jeff Heath and would pair well with the Cowboys up-and-coming three-year safety Xavier Woods.

This is still just a visit, so we should probably get our hopes up that a signing is imminent. But, I think we can all agree Eric Berry is exactly the "right kind of guy" Jason Garrett is always preaching about. He's a cancer survivor, five-time Pro Bowler, and All-Pro player. What's not to like!?



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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder

Brian Martin

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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder

The Dallas Cowboys added more defensive line help today after signing former Detroit Lions Defensive End Kerry Hyder.

Kerry Hyder Jr. on Twitter

Going back to Texas! #CowboysNation

Kerry Hyder provides more depth at the defensive end position and as a chance to become the starter opposite DeMarcus Lawrence while Randy Gregory is out serving his suspension.

Hyder, 27 originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech with the New York Jets in 2014. He spent a year in New York before signing a future/reserve contract with the Detroit Lions in January 2015.

He had a breakout eight-sack year with the Lions in 2016, but tore his Achilles in 2017 causing him to miss the entire season. In 2018 he had just one quarterback sack after Detroit switched to a 3-4 defensive scheme.

Overall, this is a good depth signing by the Dallas Cowboys. Kerry Hyder has starting potential, but shouldn't keep the Cowboys from upgrading the position further through either another free agent signing for the draft.



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Chiefs Release Eric Berry, Should Cowboys Be Interested?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Chiefs Release Eric Berry, Should Cowboys Be Interested?

As the Dallas Cowboys still have a glaring need at the safety position, a new name has appeared on the available free agents list, and it's a well known name. The Kansas City Chiefs just released one of the best at the position, Eric Berry. The move by Kansas City is likely salary cap related. The Chiefs had just signed Tyrann Mathieu for a three-year $42M deal. The five-time Pro Bowler will have to find a new home in the NFL.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Chiefs released five-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry. Had Berry been on KC's roster Friday, $7.25 million of his salary would have become fully guaranteed.

The question in many Dallas Cowboys fans minds' right now is pretty obvious. Will the Cowboys be interested? 

Eric Berry is one hell of a football player but injuries have plagued his career lately. Since he suffered a torn Achilles in 2017, Berry hasn't been the same player as before. In the past two seasons, the 30 year old safety has played in only three games.

Field Yates on Twitter

Eric Berry's tenure with the Chiefs: * 88 games played * 445 tackles * 50 PBU * 14 INT * 5 TD score * 5X Pro Bowler * 3X First Team All Pro More importantly: a cancer survivor who returned to the field and inspired countless people along the way.

Berry would be a nice fit for the Dallas Cowboys' defense to pair with Xavier Woods. However, the front office has already passed on many available safeties. For Berry to come to Dallas, the price would have to be right. It's tough to imagine where Berry's value would land in such a busy safety market. Both Landon Collins and Earl Thomas have signed big time contracts.

Age and injury history could be factors that drop Berry's price to a number that the front office would be interested in. I honestly would be surprised if he got top money today. A contract with little guaranteed money could get the Cowboys involved.

mike fisher ✭ on Twitter

Chiefs cut S Eric Berry. I'm told #Cowboys will investigate ... but recent serious health issues and inactivity - Berry is great story as a cancer survivor - mean LOTS of research is merited.

Mike Fisher took to Twitter to say the Cowboys will investigate the newest safety in the market.

The Cowboys have already seen Earl Thomas and others sign contracts elsewhere and while their free agency philosophy is clear at the moment, I believe it'd be a mistake to leave the need for a safety unattended until late April. There are quite a few options out there the team should explore.

Whether it's Eric Berry or another player such as Tre Boston, Andrew Sendejo or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Cowboys should sign a starting safety and leave the draft picks for other positions.

Tell me what you think about "Chiefs Release Eric Berry, Should Cowboys Be Interested?" 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!



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