IRVING, Texas – It’s safe to say Dez Bryant left a much bigger imprint last weekend – in multiple ways.
After being targeted just twice with one catch on Nov. 10 in New Orleans, Bryant turned in nine catches for 102 yards on 16 targets on Sunday against the Giants. Though it’s fair to say that statline included both highs and lows.
Bryant’s night started with a dropped pass that led to a Giants interception, and it was made worse by a wacky fumble for a 21-yard loss. But Bryant made up for it with three clutch catches on the Cowboys’ game-winning drive.
“We got the job done, and like I said I was going through a little bit of adversity at the beginning of that, but things started clicking at the end,” he said.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning in his weekly interview with 105.3 The Fan that Bryant needed to work on ball security. He did add, however, that some of that is simply the way he approaches the game.
“He’s violent when he’s got the ball. He’s violent going after the ball. Consequently he does need to have that ball closer to his body,” Jones said. “I don’t know how much of that you’ll ever be able to coach out of him.”
For his part, Bryant said he doesn’t think there are any problems with his fundamentals. Instead, he said it’s a result of the elements the game was played in, which is something he’ll need to be mindful of in two weeks when the Cowboys travel to Chicago.
“My ball security, honestly, has always been fine,” Bryant said. “It was just that kind of a game where you have to be a little bit more prepared – focusing on what kind of difficulties it would be in the cold weather, handling the ball. I think you’ve just got to prepare a little bit better.”
His quarterback seemed pleased with the outcome, despite the miscues. The increased focus on Bryant helped Tony Romo to his second-best passing total in the past month.
“Dez is a great competitor. He competes. He did a great job on the last drive of winning on his individual matchups,” Romo said. “I think you saw that, and obviously he knows he’s got to take care of the football. He works very hard at that, so I suspect he’ll continue to do a good job.”
Jones acknowledged the same thing, pointing out the need for getting the ball to Bryant. His reception tally of nine against the Giants tied his season high, set in Kansas City. But Bryant wasn’t overly interested in drawing praise – even from the team owner.
“I can’t make this about the targets, you know? We did win that game as a team – it’s not all about me. Not to be rude,” he said.
That said, Bryant did acknowledge that his late-game success could help carry over into Thursday’s game. With yet another chance to create a winning streak this season, he said the offense needs to remember that it can build on success, even if things aren’t working perfectly.
“It’s a confidence booster. You want to take that and add on top of it, and you want other guys to feed on it. And I think that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” he said.
RELATED: Jerry Jones Show: Dez Bryant’s ‘violent’ running style leads to fumbles
IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – It could have been a game-changing play — a play that ultimately flipped Sunday’s 24-21 win over the New York Giants.
With the Cowboys leading 21-13 in the fourth quarter, receiver Dez Bryant fumbled the ball while fighting for extra yards. The ball was deflected 20-yards backwards, leaving the Cowboys in a difficult third-and-3o situation.
It wasn’t the cold, or the defensive player, or anyone else that was responsible for the fumble. After the game, Bryant attributed the fumble to a lack of focus.
But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones attributes it to the running style of his star receiver.
“He’s violent when he’s got the ball,” said Jones on 105.3 The Fan’sNew School. “He’s violent going after the ball. Consequently, he does need to have that ball in closer. He needs to fundamentally have it closer to his body.”
In 54 career games with Dallas, Bryant has fumbled the ball 12 times. Compare that to other elite receivers like Detroit’s Calvin Johnson (13 fumbles, 102 games) and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green (3 fumbles, 42 games), and you might conclude that Bryant has a serious problem.
Jones however understands that, while it’s unacceptable, you have to take the good with the bad when coaching Dez.
“You’d like to say, ‘hey just take the ball and go straight up the field rather than trying to take it across,’” said Jones. “Of course, about the time that comes out of your mouth, he goes lateral across that field and breaks it about 40 yards.”
So can Jason Garrett and the Cowboys’ coaching staff expect Dez to change his running style?
“A lot of this is a natural, physical way he plays football, and you’re not going to coach it out of him.”
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