Drama in Dallas (and in other news water is wet)
Injuries are a part of football. Multiple players go down throughout the season, some to return within the same game, others out for the year. As NFL fans, we kind of expect this. As a Cowboys fan, I have steeled myself to the fact that they will be without important players for much of the year (Tony Romo and Sean Lee on the same team for years has helped me fully realize that fact of life). It’s not the injuries that necessarily make me, or anyone else as a Cowboys fan, scratch their head, but the actions after the injury.
Okay, let’s set the scene in case you are unaware. Early in the game last Sunday night against the Bears, Dez Bryant caught a pass from Dak Prescott for eleven yards, and was then tackled by Christian Jones. Through the natural course of the tackle, Bryant’s knee and ankle got caught under his body, resulting in an awkward landing (and honestly, if you watched it in slow motion, you would have thought Dez was gone for at least the game if not more). Bryant returned the next series and proceeded to finish the game, even catching Prescott’s first regular season NFL touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Like I said, the injury here is not the story.
Fast forward to Monday, an off-day for players, but a day where injured players are evaluated and have procedures such as MRI’s to determine the severity of their injuries (like Cowboys Guard La’el Collins who suffered a sprained right toe Sunday night). Bryant failed to report for the MRI. Bryant also failed to report to the team meetings on Tuesday, and it wasn’t until Wednesday when it was revealed (after his MRI Wednesday morning) that Dez has a hairline fracture of his right leg on the tibial plateau, which is up by his right knee.
Again, the injury is not the story.
So what is the story? It’s the conduct by an individual that, when healthy, is one of the best players in the game. It’s the systematic cover-up of this bad behavior by not only the coach, but the owner/general manager, Mr. Hero-Ball himself, Jerry Jones. Garrett, king of coach-speak stated that he doesn’t “want to get into the medical procedures”, which is perfectly fine. No one is asking him to pretend he’s a doctor. Honestly, I’m tired of Garrett pretending he’s a football coach, but that’s just me. What I want Garrett to address, as a coach and the leader of this team, is the fact that one of his star players is a prima-donna. That just not showing up for scheduled appointments, putting the entire team behind the eight-ball in terms of preparation does not make Dez Bryant one of Garrett’s “right kind of guys”. Take a stand and have a backbone, you red-haired sissy.
Jones continues to pretend there is nothing to see here. And while I understand handling some things in-house, the fact of the matter remains that Dez Bryant is just the next incarnation of Terrell Owens. Immensely talented, but not someone you need on a young, impressionable team. What kind of impression does this make on Ezekial Elliott, who is already quite the prima-donna himself? Between his actions in his senior season at Ohio State last year, to everything up through the draft and in the first few games this year, I can easily see Elliott being a headache down the road (yet another reason the Cowboys should have picked Jalen Ramsey with the number four slot). Luckily, it does not seem to be affecting Prescott, but is that just because he’s the temporary starter and not the face of the franchise just yet? He’s not expected to be “the guy” so he doesn’t have that attitude, or maybe he just doesn’t have that attitude in general? I will say that I love the comment Prescott made, stating that “Whoever’s open gets the ball” and Dez’s injury “doesn’t really affect the offense”. While this does sound like something Precott has been programmed to say, the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any sense of “oh shit we lost Dez” tells me that Prescott is more ready than ever before to take over this team. Privately, he may be in a bit of a panic, but the fact that he is not giving Dez the attention he is looking for by acting out is something that I personally love.
Is it time to cut ties with Dez? To trade him in the offseason for a bunch of picks to improve this defense? I haven’t done much research into the wide receivers coming out of college this year, but if you can find his replacement (and Terrance Williams’ as well at this point) and improve your defense through a trade of a headache that is not good for your young team, I’d pull the trigger.
Of course Jerry “Hero-Ball” Jones would have one thing to say to that:
“nothing to see here.”