<
>

Could Dez Bryant's absence aid Cowboys' offense?

play
How do the Cowboys overcome the loss of Dez Bryant? (0:45)

Brian Dawkins discusses who needs to step up for the Cowboys after Dez Bryant's injury. (0:45)

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar has offered up a different take on the impending absence of Dez Bryant.

He's not suggesting life without Bryant will be easy, but he is saying it could bother opposing defenses, starting Sunday with the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I think they'll be more confused because they don't really know what we're going to do right now," Escobar said. "Dez is definitely a big game-plan guy, so I think they're not really sure what we're going to do right now. I think it's almost to our advantage."

Again, it's an interesting take, especially since Bryant has 273 catches and 41 touchdowns in the previous three seasons and made up nearly 33 percent of the Cowboys receiving yards and 43 percent of their touchdown catches last season.

On a conference call Wednesday morning, Eagles coach Chip Kelly wasn't about to fall into the trap that a Bryant-less offense makes things easier for his defense.

"Obviously Dez is a tremendous talent but they have some weapons beside Dez in [Jason] Witten, [Cole] Beasley and obviously when a quarterback is playing as well as he is, Terrance Williams," Kelly said. "It’s always a difficult time when you lose a great player like Dez, but it’s not like they don’t have other really good players there."

Without Bryant, the targets have to go elsewhere and Escobar's chances should increase even if he is not a wide receiver. Like the way the Cowboys are treating the running back spot, they will go with a committee approach in replacing Bryant's production.

Williams will move to the No. 1 receiver role with more work for Beasley, Devin Street and Lucky Whitehead. Witten is already a vital part of the passing game but there will be more opportunities for Lance Dunbar, who caught a career-high eight passes against the New York Giants, and Escobar, who played only nine snaps in the opener but caught a touchdown pass.

"[Dez] get a lot of targets every game so those targets are going to go elsewhere," Escobar said. "Wherever the ball goes, we have to take advantage of that."

Escobar has been searching for a larger role in the offense since he was drafted in the second round in 2013. He has just 20 career catches for 247 yards, which is a good three-week run for Bryant, to go with seven touchdown catches.

With Bryant out, he will get the best chance he's ever had to make an impact.

"Receivers will play, we'll play different personnel groups and different guys will step up," coach Jason Garrett said. "There are so many plays in a game and we need guys to come in and be productive with those plays. We'll throw the football and when we're not throwing to the outside receiver somebody else has got to catch it. Escobar has certainly proven when we've given him opportunities over the course of his career he's pretty darn productive."