After two years of battling through injuries and changes at the quarterback position, will 2017 mark the return of one of the game’s most exciting players?
Without question, the Dallas Cowboys have a top five offensive line. Even the most ardent hater of this team would have to agree to that.
Most everyone would concede that the Cowboys employ a top five running back to do work behind that line. To go with that running game, Dallas has a young, charismatic quarterback ready to be in the upper echelon for years.
Then there is the venerable pro’s pro. The future Hall of Fame tight end who is as great off the field as a man as he is on it as a player.
Still, the Dallas Cowboys have one more guy, their “X” factor, that has the ability to make this offense lethal.
Allow me to reintroduce you to wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Maybe it’s just me but I feel like a lot of people have forgotten what Bryant is capable of bringing to the table.
For the past two seasons, Bryant has battled injuries and been a shell of his usual self. Five games were lost at the start of the 2015 season due to a fractured metatarsal bone in his foot. He sat out another two at the end of 2015 for ankle and foot injuries.
Last year, he suffered a hairline fracture in his right knee, causing him to miss another three games. As a result, Bryant’s last two years have fallen well below your expectations and his too.
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From 2015-16, Bryant combined for 81 catches for 1,197 yards and 11 touchdowns. That is worse than any of his previous three solo seasons. Then there’s the fact that he’s had five different quarterbacks in that time span.
Still, when healthy, it’s hard to argue that Bryant belongs in the conversation of the best wide receiver in the game.
That “X” factor could make its return to the Dallas Cowboys in 2017. If so, opposing defenses do not stand a chance.
No wide receiver in the league has put up the sort of numbers that Bryant did from 2012-2014. During that span, Dez scored 41 touchdowns in 48 games. In 2014, Bryant led the league in touchdowns while his running back had the seventh most rushing attempts in NFL history.
Obviously, Elliott’s touches won’t detract from Bryant putting up big time numbers. Honestly, I don’t believe the injuries will either. Both of the injuries were fluke occurrences and nothing major such as an ACL tear.
Bryant will be 100% with something to prove going into next year. If he stays healthy the entire year, I would expect a minimum of his three year average from 2012-14.
If Bryant catches 91 balls for over 1,300 yards and 14 scores, expect to see the X thrown up all season long. That “X” factor could be enough to give the Cowboys that extra boost towards a deep playoff run in 2017.