The Dallas Cowboys suffered a tough loss last Thursday to the New Orleans Saints. One of the sub-plots that played out in the game, and on the sidelines, was Dez Bryant. For the first time in at least a month or so, Dez Bryant wasn't heavily involved in the Cowboys offense. Even the week before when he caught three passes for eight yards, he at least added a touchdown. This past week, Bryant had zero catches. And anybody who watched the game knows he wasn't happy about it. This is where the debate begins.
Some saw Bryant emulating a former Cowboys receiver who also wore #88, Michael Irvin. Bryant was very visible on the sidelines venting, with several players stepping in to calm him down. Irvin was also a guy who would let his emotions flow on the sidelines, and it wasn't always a pep talk. Irvin was known to get on guys, but it was always written off as Irvin being a competitor, and trying to wake his team up in certain situations. Was Bryant ranting in the same way?
Another famous Cowboys receiver who wore #88, Drew Pearson, doesn't see it that way. He's sees a different ex-Cowboys receiver, and not in the best light.
I think it was more the T.O.-type of emotion. I think that emotion was more individually oriented or individually based and the reason I say this is because of his actions: the way he was going and the way everybody was trying to settle him down.
Admittedly, I kind of agree with Pearson here. Bryant should put the brakes on these type of outbursts, at least for now, when he's just a rookie. Wait a little while until you command respect, and make sure you're trying to motivate the team, not just acting out of frustration because of lack of touches. On that issue, he might have a point, the Cowboys (re: Jason Garrett) need to continually be creative and get the ball in Bryant's hands. He's explosive, probably already the Cowboys best weapon, use him as much as you can. But...
My biggest problem wasn't Bryant's outburst, that was pretty minor, but it was the way Jason Garrett forced the ball to Bryant at the end of the game. Dallas had targeted Bryant only three times all game going into the last drive. He also had one end-around rushing attempt. On the last drive, after moving the ball nicely by mainly using Jason Witten, Dallas tried to hit Bryant on three consecutive plays, all incomplete. All three plays were first-reads to Bryant, with Kitna releasing the ball quickly. The first and third plays were back shoulder fades on one-step drops. On the first one, Kitna had a wide-open Sam Hurd crossing over the middle. Both times, Kitna and Bryant looked totally out-of-sync.
The second play is one that could have changed everything; Dallas called a screen for Bryant and he had the blocking set up with open field ahead, but the ball was tipped down at the line. If he had got his hands on that, the ending would have been different. But why did Jason Garrett suddenly call three straight plays for Byrant, plays that are really quick-read patterns designed to almost exclusively go to one receiver? Kitna was mixing it up with receivers on short outs to the sidelines and was killing them with Witten. Suddenly, Bryant became the focus of the offense.
Pearson thanks these events are tied together, the outburst and the ending of the game. I don't think that's the case, but Garrett should have allowed Kitna more options on at least a couple of those plays. Pearson's opinion:
But what disappointed me out of that whole scene was that when they get back on the field, I guess they were listening to him on the sideline because now they were, in the key situation, they were trying to force the ball to him and they didn't have any success in doing that.
I think too much time had passed between the sideline ranting and those final three plays, but regardless, Bryant's outburst was questionable, and Garrett's play-calling was questionable.