The Cowboys pride themselves on blocking out the noise, but there’s no denying Dez Bryant heard some of it this past week.
Having successfully bounced back from an ugly outing in the loss to New York, the Cowboys’ star receiver wasn’t shy about admitting much. Following a week in which the Cowboys’ offense was roundly criticized for its failures against the Giants, Bryant was more than happy to dish some back.
“Half of these people that run their damn mouths, they’re just stat players,” Bryant said. “They don’t understand football, the philosophy of football. You’ve just got to block it out.”
Dez Bryant has long been one of the most emotional members of the Cowboys’ roster, but this was something else entirely.
The All-Pro receiver put together his best game of the season Sunday against the Steelers, hauling in six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown.
At the end of the regular season, Dez Bryant was tied for 45th in the NFC with 50 receptions.
His 796 receiving yards ranked 29th among all NFC players and he was tied for sixth in the conference with his eight touchdown catches.
Does Dez Bryant really deserve to be in the Pro Bowl?
This isn’t something Beasley, or his coaches, would want to hear in the “improving every day” world of an NFL training camp. But for perhaps the first time in his four-year career, Beasley is a man with a clear-cut role for the Cowboys – and therefore a little bit of job security.
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There’s any number of indicators of that fact. You can look back to his fantastic finish to 2014, when he logged 378 of his 521 receiving yards – not to mention all four of his touchdowns – in the final eight games of the season. There’s the fact that his role has improved in each of his three seasons with the team.
It’s when Beasley has been on the move or allowed free access in routes where he has had the most success. So far this season, Hyde has shown the ability to be a physical player. I expect that we will see him line up across from Beasley and try to hammer him along the line every opportunity he gets. Capers wants to disrupt Beasley and take him away from Dak Prescott as an option. Capers wants to make Beasley have to make contested plays, which is the best way to slow him down.
Look for the adjustment from Scott Linehan to move Beasley around. Linehan needs keep him on the move and not allow Hyde to get his hands on him. This gives him the best chance for success.
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It was a solid bounce-back effort for Beasley, who fumbled to kill a Dallas drive at the end of the first half last week. And while defenses continue to key on Bryant and Jason Witten, it’s providing more chances for the third-year receiver to continue to prove himself.
“It’s really just a feel thing, man – game experience is the best experience you can get,” he said. “You can practice hard and cheap Dallas Cowboys jerseys all that all week, and all that stuff, but you can never simulate the same speed in the game on the practice field.”
Asked if he thought opponents underestimated Beasley’s athletic ability, Bryant said “all the time.” At the rate he’s going, Bryant said that’s no problem.
“They underestimate a lot of our wideouts. But you know what, they can keep on doing that – that’s fine,” he said.
But games like this are built for Bryant. He’s in a category with the likes of Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. Regardless of their numbers, they need to be in a game like this.
Sure, Bryant ranked behind three different Minnesota Vikings receivers, but I doubt fans are going to keep the game on the TV to watch Stefon Diggs catch passes or even Doug Baldwin, who had 94 receptions for 1,128 yards and seven touchdowns for the Seahawks this year.
And maybe one day those guys will be on this stage and become the players that fans want to see.