No Dez Bryant Would Mean Big Problems - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Blue Star
The center of the Dallas Cowboys universe

No Dez Bryant Would Mean Big Problems



    The Cowboys have dealt with plenty of injuries this season. 

    Sean Lee and Bruce Carter won't play again, DeMarco Murray missed several games and Jay Ratliff's only notable moment this year is his locker room screaming match with Jerry Jones. All of them have been big losses, but the Cowboys are still 7-6 and fighting for a playoff spot so the team's been able to deal with their absences well enough. 

    It's hard to imagine them doing the same if Dez Bryant is lost for the season with his finger injury. We're still waiting to find out whether or not that will be the case, which leaves plenty of time to figure out how the Cowboys might try to replace what they'd lose with Bryant out of the lineup. You'll need every last second since it is incredibly difficult to see a way they'd be able to survive Bryant's absence.

    The Cowboys don't lack other good receivers. Miles Austin and Jason Witten are both perfectly capable of putting up huge numbers and swinging a game in the Cowboys' direction, although it has admittedly been a while since Austin has been able to do that. 

    Being good and being dangerous are two different things, though. Bryant is the kind of player who forces defenses to build their whole plan around stopping him, opening up myriad other options for his teammates as a result of the diminished attention they receive with Bryant on the field. The threat of Bryant can be almost as dangerous as the reality of Bryant catching a pass, something that can't be replicated with anyone else on the lineup. 

    Nor can Bryant's ability to go out and make plays. Witten, Kevin Ogletree and even Cole Beasley can work the short routes and keep the team moving down the field, but Bryant's the one guy who is capable of making catches that wind up opening up the whole field. His speed, strength and athleticism are a rare mix, something that's become even clearer over the last few games as his focus has finally met his talent. 

    If the Cowboys defense were playing at a higher level, you'd take your chances with a lower-octane offense but the truth is that Bryant's been as responsible as anyone on the team for their four wins in the last five games. He's good enough to cover the flaws of others, something you don't find all that often and something that's been vital to a Cowboys team that continually finds itself fighting their way back into games thanks to slow starts.  

    There's not much margin for error without Bryant in the lineup, a scary proposition for a team that can't really afford another loss in the regular season.