Dallas Cowboys: Is Dez Bryant a liability?

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 29: Wide receiver Dez Bryant
LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 29: Wide receiver Dez Bryant /

The Cowboys’ Dez Bryant drops too many passes, runs bad routes, and doesn’t create any separation. It appears Dez is becoming a liability to the offense.

Once upon a time, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was considered  the best  receiver in the NFL. That was only a few short years ago… 2014 to be exact.

In 2014, Dez led all NFL receivers with 16 touchdown receptions, and recorded 88 receptions for 1320 receiving yards. With that outstanding performance, owner and general manager Jerry Jones rewarded Dez with a lucrative contract with $45 million guaranteed.

That year, Dez scored his 50th touchdown and went over 5,000 receiving yards in his first five seasons in the NFL. The only other players to do that were Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, future HOF Randy Moss, and the talented Andre Rison.

Dez was on the right track! Well…that’s what I thought.

There are no excuses when you’re supposed to be the most talented receiver on the Cowboys roster. To whom much is given, much required.

Boy, were those the good ole days.  Fast forward to 2017 and Dez is a completely different receiver. Dez is so inconsistent that he’s become an awful liability.

Whether it’s dropped passes, bad route running, or miscommunication, the Cowboys highest paid receiver is underachieving. Dez is playing so inconsistent that  he deserves some blame for the Cowboys 8-6 record. Yep, you read that right. I’ll explain…

For starters, Dez no longer plays like the elite receiver we witnessed in 2014 – his best season as a professional. I’m one of the biggest Dez’s supporters you’ll ever meet. I love his work ethic, his aggressiveness, his toughness, and the way he attacks the ball.

And speaking of attacking the ball, Dez drops way too many catchable balls now. The elite receiver who used to out leap defensive backs, snatch balls out the sky like SuperMan, and beat man coverage with ease, is no longer there.

Dez is a shell of himself. The dynamic receiver we were accustomed to seeing from 2010-2014 is missing in action.

According to nbcsports.com, Dez is ranked 15th in the league with 4 dropped passes this season (It seems like Dez has dropped more balls than that). But Dez is ranked 4th in the NFL with 55 passes not caught.

Wow! That’s not a good stat. Those 55 passes may include off target passes from Dak Prescott but they also include balls going through Dez’s hands, tipped balls, and balls that he didn’t attempt to catch.

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In the Oakland Raiders game, Dez’s lackluster effort to catch a ball resulted in an interception. Instead of continuing to run the route, Dez cut his route short and the ball sailed into the hands of a Raiders cornerback.

Some would argue the ball was uncatchable and over Dez’s head. I’d argue that if Dez kept running and extended his arms, maybe he catches the ball. Or at least put his body in between the ball and defender and stops a costly interception.

Sorry, no excuses when you’re supposed to be the most talented receiver on the Cowboys roster. To whom much is given, much required.

The Dez of old would’ve attacked that ball with aggression, regardless if a defensive back were to demolish him in the process. There was a time when Dez would take a hard hit and jump back up with cat-like quickness.

Dez has tipped some balls that were intercepted. And the dropped balls are costly. In the New York Giants game, Dez let a ball go straight through his hands and hit his face mask.

Had Dez caught that ball, he likely would’ve scored a touchdown or at least put the Cowboys in position to score easily. That blown opportunity allowed the Giants to hang around well into the fourth quarter.

Since Dez is no longer considered a threat, opposing defenses are putting eight men in the box and corners are playing Dez tight. The corners are playing Dez tight because he’s no longer getting separation, which means Dak has to hold onto the ball longer, take a sack, or tuck it and run.

Also, defenses are doubling Beasley, taking away Dak’s safety valve. Combine Terrance Williams as a non-receiving threat, defenses can pin their ears back and blitz at will.

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Because Dez isn’t a proficient route runner, corners routinely jump the route and play him closely to the sidelines whenever he runs a go route.

I recognize that Dak has over thrown Dez throughout the season, but I also know that Dez hasn’t helped Dak either. Dez drops so many passes now that I celebrate whenever he does catches one.

Dez caught a crucial 40-yard reception at the Raiders 10 yard line late in the fourth quarter that turned into three points. That’s what the Cowboys need from Dez on a consistent basis in order to make the playoffs.

The puzzling part about Dez is that he’s still a decent receiver. Dez proved that with a 50-yard touchdown reception against the Giants, stiff arming a Giants corner in the process.

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Some people want to blame Dak for Dez’s lack of production. Others are so fed up with Dez underperforming they want Jerry to trade him. Fox sports analyst Shannon Sharpe and Cris Carter says Dez has reached his peak as a receiver.

I believe Dez is good, but he’s a liability, too, because the proof is in the pudding.