The Dallas Cowboys are keeping tabs on their players before the big game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. There will be no Miami trips, yacht rentals or video shoots, all they want is for players to be crisp and ready to play once the coin is flipped. One player, in particular, must be focused or the season is over. Dez Bryant.
Bryant is still a threat to any secondary. He may not have the stats of Odell Beckham but he has the experience and mental toughness to keep a calm head knowing anything childish could end his team’s dreams of reaching Houston for the Super Bowl 51. This is the lesson that no one has sat down and taught Beckham despite his gaudy numbers.
As you get your feet set in the NFL you begin to realize how difficult it is to reach the playoffs, yet alone win. Bryant has been in the league since 2010 but only been to the playoffs once and those games he would like to wipe from his memory. Well, he has his chance this Sunday. All eyes will be on his teammates, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott but it will be the performance or lack thereof from Bryant that will determine the outcome.
Beckham’s trip did not cost the New York Giants their game last week but his poor play did. Too many dropped balls and not enough effort. If you think Bryant wasn’t watching and taking notes, you will be sadly mistaken. With players that have performed well throughout the season, fans and teammates expect the same during the biggest stage when all eyes are watching and the season is on the line. Bryant watched as Beckham failed to deliver but, most importantly he watched as Beckham was crucified in the media afterward.
No one wants that, especially Bryant. He has been known to fly off the handle at times and the Cowboys do not need another sideline or locker room meltdown. If Bryant can provide Prescott with at least 7-8 receptions for modest yards, a few critical first downs, and no headaches, the Cowboys will advance. But, if he pulls a Beckham and vanishes with drop passes and poor route running, he will be crucified once again for his big game letdowns.
This is not a make or break game for Bryant but it might as well be. The team has been strong on the offensive side of the ball but Bryant must remember he is still a veteran on this team and his teammates will need him to be who he thinks he is. One of the best playmakers in the NFL.
It all starts with one game.