June 11, 2013; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant (88) makes a catch against running back DeMarco Murray (29) during minicamp at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Offensive Gameplan: Get The Ball to Dez

The Dallas Cowboys have a budding young superstar on their hands in wide receiver Dez Bryant. And going into his fourth season, the 24 year old appears to be now mature enough to have an actual chance of putting it all together this season. And when I say “all together”, I mean: the work ethic, the conditioning, the film study, the route-running, and the explosive play-making ability all in one total package. Essentially, what Detroit Lions’ wideout Calvin Johnson has been doing in the Motor City the past couple seasons.  But what does Dez need to reach his self-proclaimed and well-publicized goal of 2,000 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns? Simple. He needs the da** ball.

Last season was Bryant’s best as a professional. He finished the year with 92 receptions out of 138 targets for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. On the other hand, Calvin Johnson had a league leading 122 catches out of 204 targets for 1,954 yards and five touchdowns. If Bryant is going to reach his lofty goals, he is going to need a lot more targets. And in an offense that also has wide-outs Miles Austin and Dwayne Harris, future hall of fame tight end Jason Witten, pass catching running back DeMarco Murray, and now rookies wideout Terrance Williams and tight end Gavin Escobar all clamoring for the ball; there just might not be enough targets to go around.

But if you look at the lack of improvements made to their running game and offensive line this off-season, the Cowboys and new play-caller Bill Callahan may have no other choice than to air it out to Dez. It might actually be their best bet to win games. Unfortunately, big receiver numbers do not always equate to team victories. As evidence, check out last season’s Detroit Lions. Despite Calvin Johnson’s gawdy receiving numbers, the Lions finished the season 4-12 and lost their final eight games in a row. They also struggled with a lack of running game consistency and offensive line issues.

But Dallas has really backed themselves in a corner this off-season when it comes to addressing their needs. They are hoping to improve the play of their offensive line from within and via another year of coaching. They are also hoping running back Murray can begin to live up to the potential he has shown the past two years by actually playing an entire season without injury. There’s a lot of hoping, and probably, praying going on in those Cowboys’ coaches meetings that this “let’s just stand pat” plan actually works.

Despite the lack of offensive team improvements, Bryant has shown nothing but upside this off-season. He appears to be in top physical and mental condition. And getting a chance to go up against corners Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne seems to be sharpening his skills daily, like a stone sharpens a knife. I submit the video below as evidence:

Despite his great season last year, it seemed to me Bryant was capable of so much more and was a bit under-utilized. Let’s hope the revamped Cowboys’ coaching staff feels the same way. I don’t think you can go wrong having your number one go-to offensive weapon wearing the classic #88 on the field. Note to coach Callahan in 2013: When in doubt, just get the da** ball to Dez. Thank you.

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