Dez Bryant is having a down-year, I don't think anyone can escape that fact. However he's missed significant time with a foot injury and with Tony Romo missing, he's not getting the support from the QB position that he usually would. Earlier this week Jets safety spoke out about Bryant, and his comments were reported as if Pryor was criticizing Dez without giving him the credit he deserves. The full quote tells a very different story:
Tremendous athlete," Pryor said on Wednesday. "I think he's not looked the same since he had his foot injury, but he's still a playmaker as well. Any time you have an injury, it's kind of hard to bounce back, but he's still doing what he does. Darrelle Revis is going to have to cover him, with the help of us guys. It's going to be a tough matchup, but we're looking forward to the challenge.
"Sometimes he catches the ball and he gets downfield, (but) I don't think he has the same closing speed," Pryor added. "But not to say that won't happen against us. That's just some things I've seen on film. He's still a tough cover. People are still game planning for him, just like we are. So it's still Dez Bryant."
Does Todd Bowles think Dez has lost a step with his closing speed
"Dez Bryant being slow is like LeBron (James) being slow," Bowles said with a chuckle. "You going to get something from him, something out of him. He is a great player. You never slow down. You will just find different ways to beat people. So we are expecting the best Dez Bryant we are going to see."
He runs. He’s still doing a lot of things he’s been doing. To say I’ve really watched him all year, to say he was hurt or not hurt before the injury, I don’t know. He’s healthy enough to go play. He’s so athletic and he does enough that at 90% he’s better than 90% of the receivers. At 80% he’s, better than 90% of the receivers. We expect him to be at 100% and we’re going to play the best Dez Bryant that we know we’re going to see.
Bryant has been noticeably upset on the sideline on several occasions this year. He's a passionate player, he wants to make plays and above all else, he wants to win. with 27 receptions for 351 yards and just 2 TD's this year, and with the Cowboys sitting at 4-9 on the season, he's done neither. That's not to say he isn't dangerous, because he is. Regardless of the stats, he's still one of the best receivers in the league.
However the Jets have Revis and a vastly improving Calvin Pryor, and Dez hasn't seen the End Zone in three weeks. Matt Cassell is completing less than 60% of his passes while throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. This is the NFL, you never underestimate any opponent. The moment you do that is the moment you take a painful loss.
Did Bowles have a problem with Calvin saying that Bryant had lost a step, read into this what you will:
Calvin’s learning (laughter). Calvin is learning. He’s young, he’s learning and he gets better every day, physically and mentally. That’s my son (joking).