Have the Dallas Cowboys already replaced Dez Bryant?
Though no explicit plans have been detailed, here’s what we can piece together from what the president of player personnel Stephen Jones has said about it. Jones said this about the traditional ‘X’ role Bryant played,
"“Well, I just think if you have a dominant X and he gets one-on-one coverage then typically you want to make them pay a price, ” Jones told the Dallas Morning News. “Doesn’t mean you have to go have success only in that offensive with a dominant X. If you don’t then you go through your progressions and you get the ball to the player that your read takes you to, and certainly Dak’s been good at that."
From this excerpt, we can gather that the team ideally wants to re-shape the prior system of running the passing game through a dominant ‘X’, to a group approach. They also recognize Dak’s brightest moments as a passer came as he spread the ball around to his different reads.
Jones also added Prescott is a bit more disciplined than the improvisational Tony Romo, so Dak needs his receivers to be better route runners.
This excerpt about Dak’s strengths further drives home the point that with precise footwork and well-timed routes, a group of three of four ‘B’ receivers can get you equal to or more production than a receiving core with one dominant ‘A+’.
Now, if you are skeptical about the feasibility of a passing game without a top-flight talent, check out what some NFL players and coaches have said about the shift away from a reliance on a traditional number one.
Kyle Shanahan, head coach of the San Fransisco 49ers and one of the brightest offensive minds in football, had this to say about receiving corps.
"“You need guys who can beat man-to-man coverage,” Shanahan told NBC Sports. “You need guys who are explosive enough to scare the secondary so it can open up your play-action game. And you need guys who can separate on third down. That doesn’t have to be a receiver. You’d like it to be all five of your eligibles — three receivers, your tight end and your running back.”"
Shanahan’s opinion on the position mirrors the Dallas Cowboys. Andrew Hawkins, a former receiver who played under the young coach added to the point when he told NinerNation.com that teams with a top wide receiver rarely win the Super Bowl. And that demanding number one wide outs can hurt the chemistry of an offense.
It almost seems like Hawkins is talking about Dez directly.