Cowboys' erratic Bryant vows, 'The best is yet to come'
10/03/2012 11:36 PM
04/18/2013 7:29 PM
IRVING -- Dez Bryant said he isn't going anywhere.
Literally and figuratively.
Literally, he's going to stay at Valley Ranch for at least part of the weekend, getting in more work even as the Dallas Cowboys break for their bye week.
"I'm going to be up here tomorrow, me and Miles [Austin]," he said Wednesday after the final practice of the week. He said he and Austin will continue to work out together even though the players have four consecutive days off as mandated in the collective bargaining agreement.
Figuratively, he's going to remain a big part of the Cowboys' offense.
"I'm not going anywhere," he said. "You'll see. It's coming. I've got the right people around me."
Bryant said he is not discouraged by the bumps in his game that showed up Monday night against the Chicago Bears, when he had two drops despite turning in a 105-yard outing.
But he added that he has a lot of work to do, considering he has four drops this season and the game was only the second 100-yard game of his career.
"I'm staying positive," he said. "The best is yet to come."
The Cowboys are hoping so. He and tight end Jason Witten have the most targets on the team this season, 33 each. They also have the most catches, 21 each. That the third-year receiver is on the same pace for catches as the seven-time Pro Bowl tight end is an indication of the value the Cowboys put on Bryant's skills.
But as Monday night showed, Bryant remains close to the description of what coach Jason Garrett calls a "flash player," one who shines bright with a play here and there, but not consistency.
"I think, like a lot of players, when they get to the next level is when they demonstrate consistency, and Dez made a lot of plays in that ballgame," Garrett said of Bryant in the Monday night game. "He had eight catches, some big plays, some big chunks against that defense. At other times, he didn't cash in."
Bryant dropped two potential first-down catches, including one at the 14-yard line in the third quarter that would have kept the Cowboys from settling for a field goal that cut the lead to 24-10.
"We talked about the miscommunication on the one interception, and there were some other opportunities that he had, a third-down conversion for a possible first down that he didn't catch on the slant, and then a play down the field," Garrett said.
"But Dez was not the only one who had those kinds of plays. It was a little bit throughout our team, and we've just got to make sure we clean those things up."
The most talked-about error was the misunderstanding with quarterback Tony Romo on a Bears' blitz adjustment that resulted in a second-quarter interception return for a touchdown that put the Cowboys down 10-0.
On the sideline afterward, Bryant impressed Garrett by calmly going over the play with Romo and trying to correct the problem.
"Dez is a guy who is learning the game, is understanding things," Garrett said. "I thought the communication was really good in responding to what happened on that particular play."
Garrett said he told Bryant to trust his training in those kinds of situations.
"Just be true to what you see initially," Garrett said. "He was an off-cover guy who squatted down a little bit. He just has to be true to what the initial read is because the quarterback has to get the ball out of his hand."
Bryant got criticism after the game for the uneven performance and being outshined by Chicago's Brandon Marshall. Tuesday, Bryant trended on Yahoo!, and his inconsistency was the subject of the syndicated CBS Radio Sports Minute.
Sitting at his locker Wednesday, Bryant shook his head just a tiny bit and smiled. He seemed to understand.
"I'm going to get better," he said.
He has to, if he's not going anywhere.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760
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