Injury Concerns Aside, Dez Bryant Needs to Return Kicks for the Cowboys

Categories: Dallas Cowboys

Dez Bryant - Punt return.jpg
Let's face it: If the Cowboys are going to be anything but mediocre in 2011, Dez Bryant has to be effective. And to be effective, he's first got to be healthy.

Bryant caught three passes for 71 yards early against the Jets, then disappeared in the game's final 52 minutes. Cramps on a 70-degree night. Then a bruised leg suffered on a punt return. By the fourth quarter he couldn't run, couldn't jump. NBC's Cris Collinsworth tagged him a "liability".

Ouch.

But he's right. Nothing against Miles Austin, but if Dez is a decoy, the Cowboys are doomed.

He's now been injured in his last two NFL games: Breaking his ankle last December against the Colts and bruising his quad last Sunday night in New York. Both came on kick returns.

Nonetheless, the Cowboys are fools if they don't have the dangerous Dez returning kicks this week in San Francisco ... and beyond.

Why? Because there were a record eight kick returns for touchdowns in the NFL's opening weekend and I don't see anyone on Dallas' roster that can take it to the house other than the current 88. You?

DeMarco Murray produced the most tentative kickoff return in the history of the franchise, running with all the abandon of a barefoot guy navigating broken glass. Rookie Dwayne Harris' two punt returns totaled a whopping 17 yards.

Dallas needs Dez.

And owner Jerry Jones says -- despite the injuries on special teams -- that his team will get him. He said Tuesday that Bryant will be used on returns "judiciously," not unlike the way the Cowboys implemented Deion Sanders in the '90s.

Translation: Late in the game. Or any time an opponent is backed up inside its 20 and the punt will be fielded around midfield. Where Deion excelled (four punt-return touchdowns from '97 to '99), so can Dez. Last season he returned 15 punts, two for touchdowns.

Kick returns don't exactly win Super Bowls -- the returners on Dallas' five Super Bowl teams have been Cliff Harris (VI), Butch Johnson (XII), Kelvin Martin (XXVII) and Kevin Williams (XXVIII, XXX) -- but Dallas needs every advantage it can get this season.

For the Cowboys to contend for the post-season, Tony Romo can't commit late-game blunders. And Dez Bryant has to make positive plays on kick returns.

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15 comments
TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Demarco pussied it up on that return. Why run out of the end zone if you're just going to jog and get tackled at the 10?I guess the Cowboys don't trust Holley or Harris.

I don't like Dez on kickoff returns, on punt returns I'm fine with him going all out.

Paul Harvey
Paul Harvey

Cowboys had eight super bowl teams. Weren't there different returners for punts and kickoffs on those teams?First Week: Three kickoff return TD's, five punt return TD's. RW is using the term 'kick return'  for kickoff returns exclusively and both kickoff/punt returns interchangeably. But RW didn't just write a confusing post as part of his ongoing effort to drain the life force out of his adoring DFW viewership. He did it because he barely gives a sh^&t.And now you know the rest of the story. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

First Dez should probably prove he can stay healthy for 2 games in a row.

Because if he's hurt, they're screwed. Miles Austin is extremely overrated. Yes, I said it. He had a great 12 game or so stretch, in 2009, and that's it. And isn't the job of the 4th or 5th receiver to be a return man? What kind of terrible GM do they have where that's not an option? Uh, uh, uh, oh yeah.

Donkey
Donkey

Why is Drew Pearson and Tony Romo tagged, but miles Austin is not.  Your tags confuse me so much I just want to punch sybils beaver

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

So lets have him do the thing that gets him injured the most.  Mkay so when he is out bc of injury itll be Austin with no decoy. 

Nasty
Nasty

Thank God you finally realized what a waste of athletic tape DeMarco Murray is. I thought we were going to have to stage an intervention to bring you back to reality.

MBM
MBM

No more coddling, put him out there, we need it.

PatJim
PatJim

From Dez Dallas needs four full quarters of play. Nothing else.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

The difference between Miles and Dez and double teams(which Miles draws all the time) is that Dez can go up for the ball. Miles is your burner, get him the ball and let him run.  I don't consider him overrated, Tony can't get him the ball.

Im_Ed_Carter
Im_Ed_Carter

Austin is great in Madden 11...Jus sayin...

In 12 and under competitive oyster eating...

just thinkin'
just thinkin'

After one game you've made that determination, huh?  I guess you thought Gilbert Grape would propel the horns to a nat'l championship and Cam Newton could never manage a NFL offense.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

So he's still overrated, it's just not all his fault. He alligator-armed quite a few last season, perhaps he won't copy Roy now that he's sparing up Chicago and he'll reduce his drops, but he's also relying on a guy who's never shown much downfield strength OR accuracy to get it to him.

Just because Jerry overpaid him for 2009 doesn't mean he has an overall stellar record in the league. He's more Dante Hall than Jerry Rice.

X Marks The Spot
X Marks The Spot

Miles biggest flaw is he only has decent hands.  Last year I think he came close to leading the league in drops.  If I were him, I'd be dating the JUGGS machine, not wannabe starlets with STD issues.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Gagreed. He might think he wants to be the #1 guy, but he'd rather be the guy that gets the benefits of the defense concentrating on the #1 guy.Dude has speed, they should have him running kickoffs back. I'm so tired of the Cowboys handling their star players with kid gloves and then watching other teams do the opposite.

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