FRISCO Wide receiver Dez Bryant had just one catch for 8 yards in the Dallas Cowboys 20-19 season-opening loss against the New York Giants on Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Even more disappointing is that he had just five passes thrown his way.
But there was no hand-wringing about Bryant’s limited opportunities _ not by Bryant and not by the Cowboys.
It’s an example of the formerly combustible Bryant’s growth and maturity over the years.
Coach Jason Garrett said Bryant’s demeanor was good during and after the game.
Ironically, the thing Garrett lamented the most was that Bryant probably played too many plays in the game.
He was on the field for 77 plays. Garrett hopes to reduce that number going forward by alternating the receivers more.
Garrett, however, was not buying the notion that the Cowboys didn’t do enough to get the ball to their most explosive player against a defense focused on taking him away.
The Cowboys thew several passes down the field. They just weren’t able to connect, most notably on a 24-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter that was overturned by replay because Bryant didn’t maintain control of the ball.
“He had three good chances in the game and unfortunately we weren’t able to connect on them,” Garrett said. “And they all were close to being scoring opportunities for us. Dez is obviously a guy we want to get involved in the offense. He’s an awfully good football player. When he makes some explosive plays for us, typically we’re able to score points.
“But other teams know that too so he got a lot of attention. They were loading up the box in certain situations, but they also were rushing three in other situations and dropping eight guys into coverage and rolling to him and giving him a lot of attention. That’s nothing new for him. He’s gotten that throughout his career. You still have to be able to function and make the plays that are there.”
A contested catch in the end zone was ruled incomplete on replay because the ball moved when Bryant hit the ground.
“I think you have to give the finish that much more attention,” Garrett said. “The way catches are being officiated, any sort of ball movement at the end of the catch they are going to overturn it.”