The Dallas Cowboys are a poorly coached, poorly run franchise.
They trade up in the draft when all the smart teams are trading down, and end up picking the wrong players anyway. They overpay their own free agents. They overpay other team’s free agents. They fire effective coaches prematurely. They pass when they ought to be running. They consistently bungle the two-minute drill.
That’s what’s wrong with the Cowboys. Jerry Jones makes bad personnel decisions. Jason Garrett makes bad play-calling and clock management errors.
Dez Bryant — the polarising wide receiver who’s the target of vitriol after walking off to the lockerroom before the game was over on Sunday — is the very least of their problems.
His antics make him a convenient fall guy. He fits into the traditional narrative of the arrogant, selfish, disruptive modern athlete.
But that narrative is a piece of deflection that obscures the real source of the franchise’s relative lack of success in recent years.
Dez Bryant is an exceptionally talented athlete with a unquestioned desire to win. His makes dumb emotional decisions, but they are a function of two positive impulses: 1) he wants to win, 2) he believes that throwing him the ball gives his team the best chance to win.
He’s right. When you’re as talented as Dez Bryant, selfishness is unselfish. The Cowboys should throw him the ball all the time.
Dez can do things like this (via Deadspin):
He has emotional freakouts…
But they don’t really hurt anyone. He just wants the ball. Here’s what he was saying during that freakout in Detroit (via FTW):
“Man, we good on that, Tony. We the best in the NFL on that. We the best in the NFL. And I could…I’m telling you, if you look at it on film…man, if you look at it on film, [unclear] I swear to God out there, [unclear, PA announcer speaking] on the zero, I’m cutting. [Unclear] [expletive] [unclear.]”
It was really dumb to walk off the field yesterday. But the reasons aren’t that sinister:
Dez Bryant will probably do something to inflame people in the final two weeks of the season. He’ll stomp his feet on the sidelines or yell at Tony Romo or berate a ball boy for getting in his way.
But he’s the best player on a team full of mediocre players, and he desperately wants to win.
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