Before the season started, there was a lot of discussion about whether or not Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant would ever fulfill the potential he showed during his first two years.
Doubters cited his off-field issues and his in-game lapses in concentration as signs of why Bryant would not wind up making the most of the talent he’s shown in both college and the NFL. Bryant has stayed out of trouble away from the field during the season, but he’s still made the kinds of mistakes during games that fueled those doubts in the first place.
Bryant hasn’t lost the support of his quarterback Tony Romo, however. If anything, it sounds like Bryant’s risen in Romo’s eyes recently.
“Dez has come full circle from where he was a couple of years ago. We go by catches whether or not someone has a good game as fans or as media, sometimes. But when we watch the tape, we go by how he blocked, did he get open? The coverages are going to dictate who’s going to get the ball,” Romo said in an interview with 103.3 FM, via the Dallas Morning News. “But does he run his route right? Is it precise? Is he quick in it? He’s come 180 degrees, almost full circle where he basically gets to a point where he understands the game. Let’s say he started off doing it 70 percent when he first got here. Then he got to 85. He’s really close to being a guy where it’s 100 percent. You got to go through some things sometimes but he’s a kid that wants it, that works hard, and he’s got a really bright future.”
Opinions about Bryant have been all over the map, but his value to the Cowboys offense is clear. While he is scoring less often than he did last year, Bryant is on pace for the most catches and receiving yards of his career. If he can start scoring at 2011 rates, the Cowboys’ chances of digging themselves out of the 3-5 hole they dug in the first half of their schedule will look much better.