Dez Bryant Is Setting the Standard for Dallas Cowboys Receivers and the No. 88

Bo MartinContributor IOctober 7, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Michael Irvin has expressed his concern over the behavior and production of Dez Bryant on numerous occasions.

Yahoo! Sports reported that Drew Pearson recently said about Bryant, “He’s not living up to the expectations that were placed on him by wearing that number.”

I think we’ve reached the time for veterans to stop scrutinizing current players.  It’s getting to be ridiculous.

I haven’t been writing about the Cowboys for all that long.  For the last three years, I’ve been venting through this outlet.  If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that numbers don’t lie.

So as I make this next claim, don’t be the one who flies off the edge without giving it some serious thought.

Believe it or not, Bryant is rewriting the standard for receivers who wore No. 88 in Dallas.

Crazy, right? Well, maybe not.  Check out the numbers I’ve compiled:

Through the first two years of Drew Pearson’s career, he had 88 receptions, 1,475 yards, and four touchdowns.

Michael Irvin only played six games in his second year, so I’ve compiled his stats through the first three seasons.  Here is what I came up with: 78 receptions, 1,445 yards, and 12 touchdowns.

Bryant has yet to play a full, 16-game season, but in his first two seasons, he has 108 receptions, 1,489 yards, and 15 touchdowns.

How about that?

Now, I’m not discounting the success of Pearson or Irvin.  I recognize that these guys were spectacular receivers who did monumental things at their positions.

I also recognize that they were in significantly better situations. 

Pearson had Roger Staubach and Tom Landry running his offense.  Irvin had Troy Aikman and Jimmy Johnson to aid in his success.  Let's not forget that incredible offensive line that gave Aikman tons of time to find Irvin.  Bryant has Tony Romo and Jason Garrett. 

Bryant has been a lightning rod of a receiver with his off-the-field antics.  His play may even leave something to be desired.  The truth is that Bryant is an incredible 23-year-old talent.

It’s been easy for Bryant to be a target for Cowboys Nation.  With team failure comes individual blame.  This is especially true in the spotlight of the Dallas Cowboys.  Bryant has been under a microscope since arriving at Dallas because of his immense talent.  What people are failing to see is how successful he can truly be.

My scouting report of Bryant is that he is a strong, fast, big receiver with extraordinary hands.  Once he refines his craft, he’ll be almost impossible to cover.  Bryant has work to do, but he isn’t worth getting rid of.

Drops, route running and discipline can all be taught.  It’s the talent and ability that Bryant brings that is rare and raw.  Instead of constantly throwing Bryant to the wolves, let's commit the time to make him better.

Bryant has already begun to meet the ridiculous standard set for him. Now, let's watch him exceed it.