By Mike Fisher | @FishSports
IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – It was just one route, in a relatively meaningless preseason game. But it was run imperfectly, and the person guilty of the offense needed to be called on it.
“Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes,” said Dez Bryant. The Cowboys’ stellar receiver did indeed have his mistake in Saturday’s preseason game against Baltimore pointed out to him by Jason Garrett and the coaching staff. “If it’s not right, tell me it’s not right, because I want to do my best to fix it. You should never be satisfied. Nobody. Never get comfortable. That’s when you start falling downhill. Like I said, you’ve got to always have room to grow. I have a lot.”
No argument there, as Bryant — clearly poised to vault in to the elite of NFL pass-catchers — has made marketed improvements in previous areas of concern, including ball maintenance, the prop from one of emotions, and route-running.
“I feel like I made a jump from being an average route-runner to now a good route-runner,” said Bryant, who, even during the learning curve, has 34 TD catches in the past three seasons, capped last year by his first Pro Bowl. “It’s a step ahead of ‘good,’ so I made an improvement. And I’m going to keep doing that. Being fast off the line. Trying to win the first five yards. Explosion and burst at the end of the route. Creating a better target for the quarterback.”
The quarterbacks have no complaints. Nor does the head coach.
Said Garrett: “It’s pretty easy to look at that [one bad route in the middle of what was a three-catch, 59-yard, 1-TD first quarter] and say, ‘Dez, we have to do this, this and this.’ And there are other plays. But he’s playing really well. He’s a heck of a football player, who loves to play and he cares about getting better and better to make himself great and make our team great. It’s fun to coach him. He still has a long, long way to go as a player, and he wants to get there.”
That doesn’t make Bryant sound like the sort of prima donna so commonplace at his position.
“It’s coaching,” Bryant said. “They’re doing their job. They’re coaching us well, like they always do. If you do it right, they’re going to tell you did it right. I’ve run better routes than that. We corrected that the next day.”
More than ever, the Cowboys figure to rely on Bryant as a primary weapon.
“The more you learn, the more stuff you get thrown at you,” Bryant said. “We’re going to see. I’m excited about it… I feel like I have a lot of room to grow. I’m going to continue to keep doing that, enjoying this game, living to make plays.”
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