Fans just can’t give Dez Bryant a break can they? It doesn’t matter that he is having the best season of his career. It doesn’t matter that he spent the offseason conditioning himself to the best shape of his life. It doesn’t matter that if not for a fingertip, he would have capped an amazing comeback victory with one of the most athletically exceptional catches I have ever witnessed. So what does matter?
Unfortunately, the media feels it their responsibility to guarantee that any athlete having gotten into trouble is forever perceived as a troublemaker. That is unless you are Michael Vick, for some reason. So maybe that matters.
When a team this talented has as many failures as the Dallas Cowboys have had in the last few seasons, everyone needs someone to blame. This blame falls on many, from Tony Romo to Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett to, for some reason, Dez Bryant. Maybe this matters.
In such a disappointing year after all the optimism of the offseason; we don’t as much celebrate our player’s accomplishments, as curse their failures. This resulting in our exceptional recollection of every dropped pass, and our relative amnesia in regards to number of passes caught and yards gained. If it’s not a win it doesn’t count right? Could that be what matters?
Let me tell you what I think matters. Dez Bryant has played 7 games and has accumulated 488 receiving yards in his third year in the NFL. At that average per game, he is on pace to finish the season with 1,115 receiving yards.
Michael Irvin played 12 games in his third NFL season for a total of 413 yards receiving, having had a shortened season due to a knee injury from the year before. Adjusting that average for 16 games, Irvin’s 3rd year was on track for a total of 550 yards; that is less than half what Bryant has been producing this year. Who of you wish we would have traded him early in his career?
Drew Pearson, the original 88, played 14 games in his third NFL season for a total of 822 receiving yards. Adjusting the yards per game average for the current 16 game schedule would have given Pearson a 939 yard season. That is 176 yards less than Dez Bryant, the man Pearson claimed is not living up to the number 88, is on target to make this season.
Also keep in mind that Bryant’s numbers have gotten better as the season has progressed. Dez’s average over the first three games was 55.6 yards receiving, his average in the last four increased to 81 yards per game. That could result in the 1,115 yards being a very low estimate.
The problem is that we as fans tend only to remember the overall accomplishments of a star athlete’s career, rarely recalling the early years they spent learning and adjusting to the NFL. We are a society of instant gratification, many of us unwilling to give things the necessary time to develop and mature.
Dez Bryant is right on track to be the game changing receiver he is destined to be. I can only hope that he continues his career with the Dallas Cowboys, because I would hate to see this future hall of famer play out his pro bowl years with another team. That’s what matters to me.