Dez Bryant Will Be Back With a Vengeance in 2016


Dez Bryant, like many Dallas Cowboys, had a season to forget in 2015, but next season he’ll back with something to prove.

After signing a new deal making him one of the highest paid receivers in the NFL, Dez Bryant had his single worst season as a pro. Hampered by a season-long foot injury, Dez was a shell of his former self, pulling in only 31 receptions for 401 yards.

Bryant, who only played nine games in 2015, was never playing at 100% this season. After getting slapped with the franchise tag in March, Dez Bryant was focused on working out a long-term deal. As is coming with most ongoing negotiations, Dez was absent for much of the offseason activities. Unfortunately, that resulted in a slow start and a less-than 100% opening week against the New York Giants.

Midway through that first game, Dez broke his foot and was never the same since. Rushed back to action in November, it was clear this was not the Dez Bryant we were used to seeing.

"“He definitely had some trouble running routes,” teammate Cole Beasley said. “We had to take some out of the game plan just because he didn’t feel very comfortable on his foot.”"

It was evident to many, that some routes were no longer on the route tree. The crisp and violent breaks that we were used to seeing from Bryant were now nonexistent. It didn’t take long for opponents to notice this and adjust their coverage accordingly.

Tony Romo may be the clear MVP on the team, but Dez Bryant is the player the offense is built around. Always demanding a double team, Bryant opens things up for his fellow receivers and keeps defenses from stacking the box against the run.

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This season, Dez was unable to do that. The trickle-down effect that used to benefit the Cowboys offense was now hurting the offense. Defenses single-covered Dez and packed the box against the run. Add in the loss of Romo and that’s how the Cowboys offense died in 2015.

The good news is that Dez Bryant is player who’s always trying to prove something.

The contract is nice but the respect is what drives him.

In an NFL season where dominant WR performances seemed commonplace, Dez Bryant has fallen from the ranks in the hearts and minds of many around the NFL. With a game still yet to be played, Julio Jones leads the NFL with a staggering 1,722 yards. Behind him is Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr, and Brandon Marshall (with 1,647 yards, 1,432 yards, 1,376 yards respectively).

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To most, those five receivers were all ranked below Dez Bryant before the season began, but with all five on pace to substantially eclipse Bryant’s career best 1,382 yards, Dez will have to prove himself all over again in 2016.

Do you think that’s going to bother Dez Bryant?

You bet your sweet donkey that’s going to bother him. To say Dez Bryant is going to be back with a vengeance in 2016 may be an understatement, if anything.

Dez Bryant, like virtually the entire Dallas Cowboys roster and coaching staff, has something to prove in 2016. Given the absolute failures of 2015, it’s hard to feel optimistic about 2016. But considering Julio Jones just bounced back in a big way from a very similar season-ending injury (Thanks for pointing that out Todd Archer)there’s no reason the 27-year old Bryant can’t do the same.

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Note: The Cowboys offense isn’t designed to pass the ball to any one receiver as often as the top few receivers on the above list. Since success is measured by most in “dominance” rather than in pure statistics, it would be surprising if Dez didn’t move back up into the NFL’s top-3 by this time next season.