As the long delay from football continues, let's take another moment to look at Dez Bryant. After a great performance in 2012 where we saw him begin to enter the elite conversation, this offseason Bryant has received a lot of hype. Two former members of the Dallas Cowboys believe that the budding superstar is on the verge of becoming a dominant force.
Let's start with Drew Pearson, a guy who was a pretty good wide receiver himself. In an article by Jon Machota of the SportsDay DFW, Machota had some comments from Pearson about Bryant.
"Basically, I just think he’s got a complete understating of what he was doing out there as far as his plays were concerned, his assignments, his adjustments to those assignments and those types of things," Pearson said Monday on the Fitzsimmons and Durrett show on 103.3 KESN-FM. "And in doing that, it gave him a lot of confidence, No.1, but it also gave him a chance now to let his athletic ability and talent take over. I think he realizes now that when he comes out of that huddle, he’s the dominant force, not that defensive back, even though that defensive back might have more experience, he might be an All-Pro, or whatever. The fear now is on the defensive side when they see Dez come out of that huddle."
When a young player begins to truly pick up the offense that he is playing in, his comfort zone expands. We saw that happen with Bryant last year as the season rolled on. Combine that with his athletic ability and his confidence took his game to another level.
Pearson has a valid point about Bryant letting his talent and ability take over, but where I really believe he hits the nail on the head is that the opposing defense has a fear factor of Dez now. They would be crazy not to fear a wide receiver with size, speed, hands and confidence. Having a player like that gives the Dallas offense a serious competitive advantage.
Entering the 2013 NFL season, the Cowboys must continue to make Bryant a focal point of the offense. He's on the verge of becoming a dominant force, and Dez is also making a strong case as one of the best players on the team. Recently Nate Newton joined the Fitzsimmons and Durrett radio program and had nothing but positive things to say about Dez. The SportsDay DFW had a transcribe of the interview, which can be read here.
When I saw Dez, the first thing I noticed about him as he was walking out onto the field is that he was leaned out. Like somebody just took an eight-ounce glass of salt and poured it into his body and dried him out because Dez used to be buff, swolled out. And I shook his hand and said, "Dez, you look good. I’m serious, you are lean, you look like you are ready to run." And from that point on, he jogged onto the field and he’s just been lighting guys up, taking advantage of everybody they’re putting in front of him, no matter if it’s double coverage, it don’t make a different. Dez is the best athlete on the field every time he steps onto the field at Dallas Cowboys training camp.
I've followed Dez very closely over the course of his career. He was never fat or absurdly out of shape, but he's done a tremendous job eliminating some of the little body fat he once had. When people cut up or lose weight, you'll notice it in the face. Looking at Bryant's face, you can tell he is in better shape. This started last summer, which shouldn't come as a surprise because the reports of his dedication to the offseason workout plan were widely reported.
When the topic of how dominant Bryant can be came up, Newton described that it's possible Dez could be the best player on the Cowboys right now.
Easily. If anybody can change a game or take over a game, that’s Dez. Right now, Dez is the most dominant player that the Cowboys have. You take from that last eight games of last year, is it an argument of Dez and DeMarcus [Ware]? DeMarcus was hurt. Now, DeMarcus can be a dominant player, but Dez has got that oomph that comes with his dominance. He’s willing to get out there and thump his chest gorilla-style to make it happen.
No offense to DeMarcus Ware, but I have to agree with Newton here. Ware is one heck of a player, has been his entire career, but Bryant is just beginning to enter his prime. He's peaking and developing at just the right time. Watching how he took over a game last year was fascinating, but Dez has also stood out in just about every practice this offseason. His development continues, and he's approaching the status of an elite player.