Dez Bryant Brings Greatness Back To Number 88

Recently, I came across an interesting comment that said the starting wide receivers, Miles Austin and Roy E. Williams, have combined for seven catches for 123 yards and just one touchdown in the last eight quarters. That’s an average of about 30 yards per game for each of them. That’s unacceptable from your numbers one and two receivers, even the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams can do better than that.

Enter Dez Bryant.

The emergence of our rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant has been nothing short of remarkable. In that same two game span, Dez has lit up the scoreboard to the tune of  12 catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Even more exciting is the fact he was targeted 15 times and Dez came through in 12 of them.

After connecting for a touchdown last week against the Giants at the Meadowlands, Jon Kitna said something I thought was very profound.

As they came off the field on Sunday, Jon Kitna gave Dez Bryant a simple but meaningful message. “I believe in you,” Kitna shouted. With that, Bryant broke into a million-watt smile. 

Watching the chemistry between Kitna and Bryant has truly been something to marvel at, and earlier this week even Miles Austin said that if he were Kitna he would go to Bryant first too.

Roy Williams sounded a little resentful over the emergence of Bryant and wanted to get more looks per game.

“If I get two or three looks a game, I have to capitalize on those two or three looks and hope that they can increase to four or five, six looks a game. Just know when the ball comes my way, I have to make a play.” 

Obviously, that was a thinly veiled hint that Williams is not happy with his decreased role in the offense.

The Cowboys are trying to put what’s been a brutal season thus far behind them. Right now, Dez Bryant gives the Cowboys their best chance to win.

In the last five games, Williams has caught seven balls for 88 yards and two touchdowns, while Dez Bryant has exploded during that span, catching 24 passes for 359 yards and five touchdowns.

“Kind of like the tables have turned,” Williams said. “I was scoring the touchdowns and all of a sudden I get swept up under the thing and here comes Dez scoring touchdowns. I just hope that all three of us can just do it.”

I love something Tim McMahan wrote last week,

Roy Williams said during training camp that it’d take a “baaaaad man” to beat him out of a starting job.

Bryant is clearly a bad man. He’s not officially a starter yet, but he’s bumped Williams down a spot in the Cowboys’ receiver pecking order.

So let me wrap this up with some fun facts about just how good Dez Bryant has been so far this season…

  • Through nine games Dez Bryant has seven touchdowns on the season, the most scores by a Cowboys’ rookie since Julius Jones had seven in 2004.
  • Bryant has scored at least one touchdown in four of the last five games, which is a pace he will have to keep up to make a run at Herschel Walker’s team rookie record for total touchdowns. Walker had 14 touchdowns in 1986.
  • With one more touchdown Bryant ties Calvin Hill, who had eight touchdowns in 1969 and he needs four more to tie Emmitt Smith, who had 11 in 1990. Bob Hayes (1965) and Tony Dorsett (1977) had 13 each.
  • Currently, Bryant’s five touchdown catches tie him with Michael Irvin, Mike Sherrard and Billy Joe DuPree. Another Bryant, Antonio, had six in 2002.
  • In the Monday Night Football game vs. the New York Giants, at Cowboys stadium on October 25, Bryant returned a punt for 93 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest Cowboys punt return since Dennis Morgan’s 98-yard return during the 1974 NFL season.

There must be something special about that Number 88.

First it was the legendary Drew Pearson who donned it and gave it notoriety, than Michael Irvin followed with his own brand of greatness. But now the torch has been passed to the electrifying Dez Bryant who believe it or not, with plenty of season still left to play, has already surpassed what Pearson and Irvin did in their rookie seasons. That my friends, is absolutely incredible.

The Story Behind Cowboys Number 88

Drew Pearson wore the Number 88 from 1973 to 1983. The number was vacant until Michael Irvin wore it from 1988 to 1999. Wide receiver Antonio Bryant and tight ends Jackie Harris and Brett Pierce have all worn the number briefly since Irvin retired. Overall, 10 Cowboys players have worn No. 88.

Comments
  1. irvin ross jr

    dez the best thing to happen to dallas so far in a while i wish jerry get the off line straight either kitna or romo with time can do damage im starting to like kitna man he been looking good lately

    • Tom

      If this team had played with the level of effort when Romo was in there and they kept fighting, things would be dramatically different. Everyone quit on Wade. They got the needed shake up and things are of course different. Kitna is doing his job and that is all we could do. He’s even playing better after Wade was gone.

      As for Dez, he’s a MAN who will just get better as long as he plays and studies hard, and keeps his head level. He knows the number is an honor and he is doing it proud. The fact that he will get better, is a scary proposition to the rest of the NFL.