As illustrated in the video above, Dez Bryant endured a lengthy yet grueling off-season rehab and conditioning program. He appears to be in the best physical shape of his career.
Many Cowboys’ fans were disappointed in Dez Bryant when he held out for a big payday and then showed up to training camp out of shape after inking one of the highest salaries for a wide receiver in NFL history.
Dez Bryant had A Remarkable 2014 season. He started all 16 games catching 88 passes for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns: which earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl. His 16 touchdown receptions was the most in the NFL.
However, his 2015 season was pale in comparison. Dez Bryant only started 9 games and caught a meager 31 passes for 401 yards and only 3 touchdowns. Hardly what one would expect from a player who just inked a $70 million contract with $45 million in guaranteed money.
Bryant’s contract was set up with a $20 million signing bonus and his average annual salary is $14 million. Based on his average annual salary, Dez Bryant earned $451, 613.00 per reception in 2015: leaving many Cowboys’ fans with a bad taste in their mouths.
Dez Bryant’s freakish athletic ability, physicality and the attention he garners from opposing defenses was obviously missed on offense. Opposing teams loaded the box in an effort to stop the run and dared both Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden (who were afraid) to take a shot down field.
In the absence of All-Pro quarterback Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, the offense was unable to move the chains and/or convert on 3rd down. Thus the Cowboys finished the season with a 4-12 record: the worst since Troy Aikman’s rookie campaign when they went 1-15.
It wasn’t until the final few games of the season when Kellen Moore made his NFL debut in a regular season game that the Cowboys offense began to have some success getting the ball down field. Dez Bryant hadn’t caught a touchdown pass since week 11 with Matt Cassel at the helm and the only other TD pass he caught was week 9. The first time Kellen Moore saw the field he ended Bryant’s drought when he read all out blitz vs the Jets and connected with Bryant for his first NFL touchdown.
Obviously we can’t put all of the blame on Dez for his lack of production. In fact, Kellen Moore completed more passes for 20 yards or more in only two starts than the other two quarterbacks combined for in 10 games. Considering Dez Bryant is the Cowboys deep threat, it’s hard to expect gaudy numbers when the quarterbacks were afraid to take a shot down field.
What to expect in 2016?
Following a full off-season conditioning program and training camp, I firmly believe that Dez Bryant will return to beast mode providing no new injuries occur. He will be playing with a chip on his shoulder, and having Tony Romo back will ensure he gets his fair share of targets. With Calvin Johnson announcing his retirement, there are only a few NFL receivers in the same conversation as Dez. Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham respectively.
Defenses will be afraid to load the box because they are aware of the chemistry Tony Romo has with Dez on the deep ball and in the red zone. This will help to open up the running game and free up Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley to make more plays. Barring injury, Dez Bryant will be among the top 5 receivers in the NFL once again and the Cowboys will have a top 5 offense. If the defense can hold up, there is no reason why the Cowboys can’t go deep in to the playoffs.
With any luck, Dez won’t be robbed of the game winning catch that would put the Cowboys in to the NFC championship game. If nothing else, that call should motivate him even more to help put the Cowboys back in the conservation in 2016.
Editors Note: The NFL continues to think they are above the laws of this great nation and blocked our of use of the Youtube we had inserted here. Therefore, we had no choice but to upload it ourselves as the constitution specifically states we are allowed to do when reporting the news!!
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