IRVING, Texas -- Dez Bryant knows better than to expect any favors from his old friend Rob Ryan.
Bryant calls Ryan “one of my favorites to this day,” but the Pro Bowl receiver certainly didn’t enjoy himself the last time he saw the former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator. Ryan schemed to make Bryant a nonfactor in the New Orleans Saints' rout over the Cowboys last season, using a variety of double teams to hold Bryant to one catch for 44 yards.
A lot has changed since last season, but Bryant still expects to be the focal point of Ryan’s game plan. He’s just optimistic that the results will change.
“I know he’s going to double me,” Bryant said. “I know he is. I’m ready for it.”
Then again, in his next breath, Bryant makes the case for why it might not be smart for the Saints to double him.
“If they want to keep doubling,” Bryant said, “DeMarco [Murray] will run for 150 or 200 more.”
The smashmouth Cowboys will gladly pound away on the ground if the Saints want to consistently commit a safety to helping on Bryant -- or put two defensive backs in his face at the line of scrimmage like New Orleans did in the red-zone last season.
Stack eight in the box and Ryan puts a cornerback who has struggled this season -- all of the Saints’ corners have -- on an island against one of the NFL’s premier playmakers.
That’s the beauty of balance.
“Obviously the more balanced you are, the different ways you can attack the defense, forces them to make some different decisions,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. “So if we’re running the ball effectively or if other receivers are stepping up, all of a sudden they have different decisions they have to make if they want to continue to take this guy, or these guys away from it. If you make them pay in other areas, they have to start having some conversations.”
Bryant hopes to cause his buddy to use some of his classic colorful language in his sideline conversations Sunday night.