Dez Bryant has been the subject of a lot of chatter this offseason.
His first two NFL seasons have been a mixture of obvious talent, frustrating injuries and questions about whether or not he has the makeup to make good on that obvious talent. Earlier this month, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed worry that Bryant’s conditioning wasn’t good enough to keep him at a top level throughout games. He repeated that worry at the end of minicamp while also saying he thinks Bryant has progressed.
“I know one thing,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. “He certainly is different as far as his maturity and as far as his understanding of what it takes to play in the National Football League than when he got here.”
Another member of the Jones family also weighed in on Bryant. Cowboys Executive V.P. Stephen Jones said during an interview on KESN-FM that the Cowboys want to see Bryant take a big leap forward on the field as well this season.
“Well, I think he needs to be a No. 1 receiver. Not to take anything away from Miles [Austin], but I would submit to you that when we line up out there that the guy that they’re the most worried about is Dez,” Stephen Jones said. “And he’s got to be that guy, and even when they do try to stop him, the great ones still make a lot of plays. Tony’s got to be able to count on him, he’s got to run the right routes at the right depths and be a precise route runner. Those are the things he’s got to improve on. If he can do those things, then obviously we can really achieve what we want to accomplish, which is win a championship.”
Winning a championship as a result of growth from Bryant might not be as obvious to the masses as it is to the younger Jones, but it would obviously be a good thing for the Cowboys offense. Austin has produced like a top receiver for the last few years and bumping Bryant up to a higher level would make life much more difficult on defenses.
There’s a little time to fill with more talk about Bryant before we get a chance to see if he makes the leap this season. His ability to do so will be key to the Cowboys’ success this season.