October 20, 2011

Dallas Cowboys say no one reason for Dez Bryant's second-half fade

The receivers coach insists there is no conspiracy to make Dez disappear at crunch time.

IRVING -- Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant wasn't talking Thursday. It isn't about letting his play speak for itself, because he hasn't gotten many chances to make plays this year.

Bryant rarely has been targeted in the red zone or in the second half in the four games he's played. The Cowboys, though, insist it is not a trust issue.

"I don't think there is any conspiracy going on, first of all, that we haven't gotten him the ball as much as we'd like to and as much as he'd probably like for us to," Cowboys receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said. "This is the way it is in the NFL, quite honestly. Some weeks you get it a lot; some weeks not as much. Some weeks it comes early; some weeks it comes late; it doesn't always come steady throughout the whole game. Sometimes it doesn't come at all.

"If you're a receiver in the NFL, you realize sometimes it rains; sometimes it pours; and sometimes it's a drought. It's just the way it goes. Sometimes it's the coverage; sometimes they're taking him away; sometimes it just happens the read goes the other way....There is no plan: 'Hey, we're going to throw it to Dez here in the first quarter and not until next week.' It's just the way it is. There is nothing intentional. Believe me, we'd like to get the ball to him."

In the second half of games, Bryant has two catches for 50 yards. Both came against the Washington Redskins. He has been targeted only 10 times in the second half of four games.

Bryant said all the right things after the 20-16 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday when he was targeted twice in the second half after catching four passes for 78 yards in the first half.

"It's all good," Bryant said in the postgame locker room. "You have to understand we have a lot of great players. Each and every last one of us can make plays. We just have to do our job when our number is called."

The red zone, too, has been a no-Dez zone for the most part. He has been targeted three times inside the opponents' 20-yard line and has two catches for 9 yards and two touchdowns.

Tony Romo has attempted 23 passes to other receivers in the red zone this season, with only 13 completions and two touchdowns.

Romo maintains he trusts Bryant, even though three of his six interceptions this season have come on passes aimed at Bryant. The quarterback said Bryant's lack of opportunities has been "overblown."

"Dez is doing a good job," Romo said. "It's just coverage dictates where the ball goes. Who is covering who and everything. Sometimes he's going to catch 10 balls in a row. Then, they can take him away for 10 passes. It's not anything that he's doing. He's doing a great job. He continues to get better as a player. You can see at different times he shows flashes where he's got a lot of ability. He's going to continue to grow and get better."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show Tuesday that Bryant needs to "concentrate on his route running." Bryant's focus has improved, though, according to Robinson.

"He's like anybody," Robinson said. "He stays focused most of the time. I'm not going to stand here and say everything is perfect and everything is done right all of the time, but the high percentage of the time he's doing what he's supposed to be doing."

Now, if only the Cowboys can find a way to get Bryant more involved.

Charean Williams


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