There is little doubt that the Dallas Cowboys win over division rival New York Giants was well deserved and a total team effort on the Cowboys end of things. From the defensive secondary keeping Eli Manning and the duo of Victor Cruz/Hakeem Nicks in check to the performance of Tony Romo and number three wide receiver Kevin Ogletree’s breakout game. All facets of the Cowboys game last Wednesday were firing on all cylinders and seemed vastly improved over last season’s woes….all except for one.
Dez Bryant recently admitted to the urgency for himself to need to know what he is doing out on the field with the likes of Tony Romo, Jason Witten and Miles Austin. Dez Bryant is said to be in tremendous shape this season and his head is said to finally be in the playbook as it should be but have the rumored trust issues between Tony Romo and the third year wideout been resolved? Digging into last season’s Dez Bryant numbers we have unearthed a disturbing second half trend regarding number eighty-eight.
Up to this point in Bryant’s career he has been targeted 176 for 112 catches coming up with the ball when thrown at 63.6% of the time. Bryant has played 1280 snaps accounting for 13.75% of the Cowboys offense while on the field. This offensive output ranks higher than both teammates Jason Witten and Miles Austin while tying Miles Austin with 15 touchdowns and surpassing tight end Jason Witten by a single touchdown in 28 career games for Bryant. Yet, the disturbing trend that Dez Bryant seems to be falling victim to is his second half offensive output numbers.
It’s amazing to think that that prior to the first game of the 2012 season Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten had been on the field simultaneously for an interval of only thirteen games and with Romo at the helm as quarterback you can see on the graph below how each of Romo’s three receiving options faired during the 2nd half of games over that thirteen game span.
As you can see that Dez bryant’s second half output is dwarfed by both Witten’s and Austin’s second half output. Wednesday night’s game against the Giants was the quadruplets fourteenth game together but the same familiar trend emerged during the second half. After being targeted 4 times for 3 catches in the first half of the Giants match-up, Dez Bryant was only thrown at one time in the second half making the catch for sixteen yards. Teammates Miles Austin was thrown at three times catching one for a touchdown, Kevin Ogletree was targeted four times while the tight end position was targeted four times with two of those going to Jason Witten.
It’s clear that Dez Bryant’s offensive production suffers greatly during the second half of games and while Tony Romo only passed the ball fourteen times during the entire second half of last Wednesday night’s game we refuse to ignore a trend that has taken over right where it left off the previous two seasons. Hopefully this is all for naught and simply much ado about nothing but it’s a trend that we will be monitoring closely over the rest of the 2012 season.
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