ARLINGTON, Texas – Dez Bryant has come a long way from being a habitually late rookie, but his professionalism is still a work in progress.
Bryant is saying all the right things, such as stating his desire to prove himself as reliable and dependable to coaches and teammates. He’s done the right things most of the time. But new receivers coach Jimmy Robinson acknowledged that he has had to have some stern talks with Bryant about following up on the promise to be professional.
“I think Dez is trying to do it the right way, honestly,” said Robinson, who considers Bryant the most physically gifted receiver he’s ever coached. “He’s doing a better job with being where he’s supposed to be, on time and those types of things. But it’s a day-to-day process. It doesn’t happen overnight. I don’t expect that it’s gonna.
“Sometimes you take a couple of steps forward and one step back. So you grab the young man and you hug him and you say, ‘Hey, listen now. This is something you’ve gotta do different. This is where we need to improve.’ You do that day after day after day. You develop that trust, hopefully him in you and then you start to develop it in him.”
Robinson heard the stories about Bryant’s rookie season, when he racked up heavy fines for infractions such as being late to meetings and injury rehab sessions. Robinson’s understanding is that Bryant’s professionalism has vastly improved over the last year.
“He’s making progress, but it’s not perfect,” Robinson said. “I don’t expect that it’s going to be. It’s a growing process.”
Bryant has been consistently respectful of Robinson, who has 28 seasons of NFL experience as a player and coach and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Packers last season. Robinson, who describes his coaching style as hands-on and detailed “almost to the extent of overcoaching,” is confident that he is developing a trustworthy relationship with his prized young pupil.
Robinson considers Bryant to be coachable. Robinson makes sure to praise his receivers when appropriate, but Bryant has also been receptive to constructive criticism.
“He’s just hungry,” Robinson said. “He wants to be coached. He wants to learn. He wants to know exactly what it is that we want him to be doing, that I want him to be doing. I think he’s hungry to learn it and hungry to do it the right way.”
Robinson is working with Bryant to do it the right way every single play and every single day. The kid has come a long way, but there’s still a lot of progress to be made.