Last night, I posted an article detailing why Dez Bryant was wrong to not carry Roy Williams’ pads. Off of the football field, Bryant may still need to do some maturing (although he has certainly conducted himself quite well since becoming a Cowboy). On the field, however, Bryant has been outstanding.
Dallas Cowboys Times correspondent Dave Kraft just sent me a video of Bryant’s training camp highlights. I have posted a few notes below regarding what I have seen from Bryant’s play thus far.
Bryant has shown tremendous speed and quickness out of breaks. Speed is important in football, but it is useless without the ability to stop quickly and change direction. At the 11 second mark, you can see Bryant (albeit against no defender) with a subtle jab to the outside on a "seven route" (or corner). Similar "out-of-break quickness" can be seen at the two-minute mark on a comeback route.
As always, Bryant has shown great hands. He has made several one-handed catches, but he is also consistent in hauling in the “easy” ones.
The last play in the video above shows Bryant’s ability to bring down the ball in traffic.
The concentration and athleticism he exhibits in catching the ball while falling to the ground is extraordinary. He does the same at about 90 seconds into the video.
At the 1:40 mark, Bryant shows the ability to separate from a defender. This time, it was Pro Bowler Mike Jenkins. Bryant is initially covered on the fade route but implements an extra burst in passing Jenkins and securing the ball for a 20-yard gain.
Bryant still needs to show he can effectively get off of press coverage. At the 46-second mark, he allows cornerback Cletis Gordon to get into his body and disrupt his route. Bryant needs to either utilize his quickness to get around the press, or his strength to fight through it. The stick route he was running on the play is a timing one, meaning Bryant needs to be at a certain spot at a certain time (and an effective jam will disrupt his ability to do that).