Jerry Jones can gnash his teeth all he likes, but the Sporting News’ Clarence Hill pointed out Wednesday that the release of wideout Akwasi Owusu-Ansah paves the way for Dez Bryant to finish the season as the Cowboys’ full-time punt returner:
Owusu-Ansah has served as the team's primary punt returner the past few weeks because the Cowboys didn't want to risk Bryant to injury. Bryant is the team's most dynamic returner, but was injured on a punt return in the season opener and has been used sporadically at best since because owner Jerry Jones mandated that the Cowboys try someone else at the position.
Jones obviously signed off on Owusu-Ansah’s release, which means he’s tacitly agreed to the move. As well he should. You only needed to watch Bryant run out onto the field at the last second while buckling his chin strap before casually breaking off a crucial 20-yarder against Miami to know he needs the job all top himself. The Cowboys have no one else on the roster who possesses that kind of easy brilliance. Furthermore, plenty of other team have used starting wideouts on special teams (DeSean Jackson and Percy Harvin the most notable) all season long with minimal consequences.
You can look at the opposite sideline this Sunday to know how important a great return man can be to a team. Without Patrick Peterson’s four touchdowns on punt returns, the Cardinals are 2-9. Putting Bryant back there for the stretch run is an almost perfect compromise between Jason Garrett and the Double J. They’ll get Bryant’s explosively ability for the stretch run, without having risked him back there for the first dozen weeks of the season. This was the right move, and it will pay off handsomely sometime in the next five games.