FRISCO If Dez Bryant would have maintained possession throughout the catch and scored a touchdown … If Cole Beasley would have come down with a TD catch in the first half. If, if, if....
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s debut would have had a much different tone if one of several plays had gone his way in the season-opening 20-19 loss to the New York Giants last Sunday.
Instead, though, Prescott was left answering questions Wednesday about what went wrong, namely Bryant finishing with only one catch for 8 yards.
“That’s our guy; he needs catches; he needs balls,” Prescott said. “He had some balls thrown at him. He wants to bring down, and he’d say it himself, he wants to bring that touchdown down, make that play. If he has that, regardless of two catches or not, he has a touchdown, and I don’t know if we’re still talking about this.
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“I’m going to continue to run our offense. If Dez is the read, Dez is the read.”
The Cowboys run a democratic approach on offense under coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. The quarterback is supposed to find the open receiver, whether it’s an All-Pro such as Bryant or a second-year tight end such as Geoff Swaim.
The Cowboys rarely run designed plays specifically for Bryant, and operate under the mindset that balls will eventually work their way toward “the stars.” That has worked in the past, but people are questioning that philosophy after a game in which Bryant was a relative non-factor.
“I know some people kind of threaten and you’ve got to try to get some of your playmakers the ball, but then you get away from your offense,” Prescott said. “You get away from things that you normally do when you do that. So I think it’s important for us to just make sure that we keep running our offense.
“Dez will have balls throughout our offense. He’ll have balls thrown at him this week, he’ll make some grabs, we’ll make some throws, we’ll get some completions on all the guys. All the guys will have chances.”
Prescott completed passes to eight different receivers on Sunday, and targeted nine overall. Tight end Jason Witten led the team in receiving with nine catches for 66 yards. Cole Beasley was second with eight catches for 65 yards.
Bryant finished with one catch for 8 yards on five targets. But one of the targets happened to be an overturned touchdown pass. It was the second near-touchdown by Prescott on the day, the other coming in the first half when a pass to Beasley was a little high and went through his hands.
Like everybody else, Prescott could only wonder what would have been had those two passes ended differently.
“One, I think we win, so you probably aren’t asking me the same questions for one,” Prescott said. “But it’s completely different [outcome]. We’ll make those catches, we’ll make those throws, we’ll convert that.
“It’s not a panic. We’re in good position. It’s Game 1. You hate to lose the first game, especially a division game, but we have 15 more left.”