Dez Bryant got off to an impressive start Friday with 3 catches for 55 yards in his first preseason appearance. This adds to the speculation that this season will be Bryant’s breakout year.
New receiver’s coach Dooley has apparently had a positive effect on the talented young Bryant, with Dez running crisper routes and always appearing to be open.
If there is one thing that never fails to infuriate me, it’s that obviously there is no such thing as unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct when it comes to defending Dez Bryant.
Blatantly launching yourself helmet to helmet with him…no problem. Standing over him well after the play is over, preventing him from being able to get up…no flag. Shoving him out of bounds before the ball arrives, holding his arms behind his back, hitting or kicking him after the play…no penalty.
This angers me for several reasons. For one, Dez is an incredible talent, and an invaluable asset to this team. If the referees do not start throwing flags, they are giving an open invitation for players to take cheap helmet to helmet and defenseless receiver shots that could very likely result in serious injury.
Another issue is that allowing players to constantly stand over, taunt, and shove Bryant after the play will eventually cause him to lose his temper, as it would anyone. If he loses his temper at some point he’ll retaliate, and I’m sure the refs will have no problem throwing a flag on Bryant.
Ultimately, this isn’t a Madden video game. It is not the responsibility of the refs to even the odds in a talent mis-match, nor is it their job to try and keep the score close or allow the team that’s behind to get back into the game. The referee’s one and only job is to call a fair game, and to protect the players in the process. In that case, they are failing miserably in regards to Bryant.
The tv talent isn’t that much better, completely disregarding the helmet to helmet contact and taunting, instead putting the blame on Bryant and accusing him of mouthing off unprovoked.
I’m excited about Dez’s potential this season. I think if he can stay healthy, Bryant will break records this year. Unfortunately, in order for that to happen, we might need the referees to actually do their jobs and protect him.