IRVING, Texas -- He’s determined to be patient, but Dez Bryant promises one thing.
“I promise you, my time’s coming,” Bryant said. “When it comes, I’m going to take advantage of it.”
That confidence comes despite knowing that the double-teams are sure to keep coming his way. The New York Giants contained Bryant in the Cowboys’ season-opening win, holding him to four catches for 22 yards by consistently playing press coverage with a safety over the top.
Elite receivers get that kind of attention on a regular basis.
“That’s the world he’s going to live in for the rest of his career,” head coach Jason Garrett said.
Bryant gets some satisfaction from his presence helping create opportunities for teammates such as Jason Witten and Miles Austin. But Bryant knows the best receivers manage to put up big numbers despite being the focus of defensive game plans. As Garrett said, the Cowboys are counting on Bryant to prevail against some of the double-coverage looks he gets.
Bryant did that a lot during the second half of last season. He expects that to be a theme again this season.
“I have to execute,” Bryant said. “I have to get open and see where it goes.”
Bryant, who said his mildly sprained left foot isn’t a problem, has particularly focused on his releases against press coverage during practice this week. He has told the scout-team cornerbacks that he wants them to be as physical as possible with him.
If Bryant can beat the press, he’ll essentially be matched up one-on-one with a safety on occasion. That’s a big play waiting to happen.
The Cowboys’ scheme will feature formations and plays designed to help free up Bryant.
“We’ll be ready for it,” offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said. “He understands the nature of coverages and how people are playing him now. It’s our job as coaches to find ways to get him open.”
Added Garrett: “It’s just part of what you do to make sure your playmakers get the ball. That’s got to be an emphasis. You can’t just sit there and say, ‘OK, he’s going to line up here every time. OK, you win.’ You have to make sure you keep getting him the ball. At the same time, you don’t want to get so bogged down trying to get one guy the ball.”
The Cowboys certainly want Bryant to get his hands on the ball more than four times per game. And they definitely want to give Bryant chances to make plays downfield, opportunities that didn’t develop in Week 1.
“He’s going to get opportunities,” Witten said. “Those will come.”
When they do, it’ll be time for Bryant to deliver on his promise.