Garret: Bryant’s toughness has positive impact on Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said on Tuesday that Dez Bryant’s determination and selflessness towards helping his team on the field when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers, despite risk of a setback to his fractured left index finger, played a positive impact on the players in the locker room.
“Dez was very emotional early in the week about, ‘I am playing in this game,’ and I think when you are a football player and you see a guy be so unequivocal about that and say, ‘I’m doing it,’” Jason Garrett said, “regardless of what the heck this thing is, ‘I’m playing, I need to play,’ I think it has a real positive impact on your football team.”
Despite Dez Bryant’s enthusiasm and willingness to play under those circumstances against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Dallas Cowboys weren’t initially so confident. Dez Bryant was assigned to several appointments with several specialists to determine if there was a likelihood of him playing Sunday without any imminent long-term health issues.
“But right from the start he said, ‘I’m playing,’” Jason Garrett stated. “I think that is a real tribute to his toughness, first and foremost as a human being, and his passion for playing and passion for this football team.”
While Dez Bryant was initially slated to go under the knife, with the Dallas Cowboys subsequently placing him on the season-ending injured reserve, he opted to put off surgery although it could hamper a range of motions in the injured finger. However, doctors didn’t stop DEz Bryant from playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Dez Bryant hauled in four of nine catches for 59 yards, with one of those catches facilitating a 24-yard touchdown that landed the Dallas Cowboys in a third-quarter lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although Dez Bryant seemed to struggle catching the ball at times, he finished Sunday night with an ongoing scoring streak (six games).
Jason Garrett said that not once prior to or during the game did Dez Bryant complain about his injured finger. Even when Jason Garrett inquired if there were a few routes he was uncomfortable running due his finger’s condition, Dez Bryant was determined to play the typical game plan at his maximum capacity.
"The finger felt fine," Bryant said after the Dallas Cowboys (8-6) secured a 27-24 overtime win, placing them in a three-way tie atop the NFC East. "It felt way better than I thought. I feel like I can keep going with it."
Regardless of the injured finger, Dez Bryant appeared to pose a threat to the in the Dallas Cowboys’ passing game. Jason Garrett noted that the Pittsburgh Steelers assigned him the same coverage as they would to a completely healthy Dez Bryant.
“At times they double, at times they played him single,” Jason Garrett said. “That’s kind of how they play. I don’t think they did anything differently because of the finger.”
The Dallas Cowboys will continue monitoring Dez Bryant’s weekly progress. Jason Garrett added the Dez Bryant isn’t likely to get his finger X-rayed unless there are signs of discomfort.