Said tight end Jason Witten, ”Those plays that Dez has had, it changed the game for us.“
The Cowboys are happy to be talking about on-field developments with Bryant rather than off-field. He has had his share of distractions, including an arrest on a domestic violence charge this summer days before training camp.
It highlighted the risk the Cowboys took in selecting the then-21-year-old in the first round in 2010, despite an NCAA suspension for lying to investigators and a reputation for immaturity.
But a resolution to the domestic violence charge roughly coincided with the recent surge in his game, and he has avoided any other hurdles to his career.
”I caution anybody saying that there won't be bumps. There may be more bumps in the future,“ executive vice president Stephen Jones said. ”Obviously, he's trying to stay away from that stuff. I commend him. He has done a heck of a job. He is certainly maturing. He is doing a great job on the field for the Cowboys, and from everything I can see, he is doing a great job off the field with his family.“
In practice, Bryant's approach might also be changing. The Cowboys say he has always had good practice habits. But safety Danny McCray sees subtle changes.
”I wouldn't say he's come to practice different because every time he's come to practice, he's playing like he's in the game,“ McCray said. ”He's making one-handed catches. His first year, he was doing amazing stuff. He's continued to do that. I think now it's more taking it from the practice field to the game, every snap, first half, second half, and you see him showing up.
“And he gets on himself when he messes up. If he drops a ball or runs a route, he's hard enough on himself to where he'll get it right the next time and won't make that same mistake. He's not blowing it off like, ‘Yeah, I'll do it right next time.' He's going to ask the coach, ‘How can I do this better, how can I do that better?' You see him talking to the coach the whole time.”
Last week, after one of the Bryant touchdowns, the camera caught him and Robinson in what looked like an emotional moment — embracing, talking to each other, the coach's face in the receiver's helmet.
Robinson said it wasn't quite like that — they just wanted to make sure they could be heard without sideline cameras and microphones picking up their conversation. But Robinson said he was passing on some meaningful words.
“Just telling him, ‘Hey, that's what we're expecting from you,'.” Robinson said. ‘We're proud of you, you're doing a great job, don't relax, there's more. There's more out there for you today. You've got to keep playing.'.“
Playing the way he's been playing. Scary.
MCT Information Services