There is no doubt that the post-Romo era in Dallas has seen Dez Bryant’s value steadily erode. Yet, despite sharp drop-offs in the entire receiving corps and aerial attack of the Dallas offense, Bryant has been the object of much of the blame. Recently, Cowboys CEO, Stephen Jones, implied Dez Bryant and Jason Witten were both responsible for some of quarterback Dak Prescott’s struggles in 2017 suggesting that Prescott would do better without them in the huddle in 2018. Sure, because an All-Pro tight end and All-Pro wide receiver don’t have anything positive they can say to a young quarterback in the huddle to help him in his maturation process.

I guess every team with a young quarterback better dump all franchise leading successful wide receivers before they ruin their quarterback’s progression (insert sarcasm emoji here). Bryant will look to prove he is a top NFL receiver again.

Dez Bryant and Jason Witten targets of latest Cowboys excuses

The statement above is a bit difficult to take at face value. What young quarterback couldn’t benefit from the direction and help of a seasoned Jason Witten or Dez Bryant? I guess veteran leadership is suddenly a negative influence in the Cowboys universe. Maybe this is the kind of illogical rationale that explains why Dallas hasn’t come close to a Super Bowl in over two decades. The implication here is that Bryant and Witten undermined the game plan built for Prescott, causing him to force plays in response to their demands for the ball and that this caused Prescott to regress in his sophomore outing.

I guess Bryant and Witten didn’t make those same demands in Prescott’s rookie season when he was doing so well.

Cowboys are shifting responsibility

This is a convenient shift of responsibility away from the coaching staff and play-calling by suggesting Bryant and Witten caused Prescott to deviate from both. Numbers were down for not only Bryant and Witten, but Cole Beasley went from a career-best in 2016 (75 receptions, 833 yards) to the worst season of his career apart from his rookie campaign (36 receptions, 314 yards).

Is anyone suggesting Beasley lost a step or distracted Prescott?

Do any Cowboys fans remember Romo's successor in 2015, Brandon Weeden? Would it surprise anyone to learn that before he got the permanent boot and was replaced by Matt Cassel, Weeden had a 92.1 quarterback rating compared to Prescott's 86.6 in 2017?

It is easier to point to an aging Witten, and a narrative that the 29-year-old Dez Bryant lost a step at 26 years old, than to question whether the aerial attack of the Cowboys has fallen off a cliff due to play-calling, coaching, or handing a young quarterback the de facto franchise crown too early into his career.

Coincidentally, this was the moment Tony Romo went down with the injury that would turn out to mark the final start of his career. It also looks very convenient for Jones to shift blame to two players that are no longer on the roster in Bryant and Witten, despite the fact they are two of the top franchise leaders in Cowboys receiving history.

Not that you can blame Jones, because he has to fill seats in 2018, and that means selling hope, which means telling Football fans that all the stormy waters turned out to be Jonah, and once discovered, he was jettisoned off the ship. So, while Jones spins a narrative of clear sailing ahead, the rest of the NFL fan base can be whale watching, waiting to see what beach Jonah, uh, Bryant, washes up on.

And if Bryant tears up the league for a different team this season, while the Cowboys aerial attack continues to struggle, Cowboys fans can’t wait to hear the entertaining yarn that Captain Jones spins out next year. How do the Cowboys stand up in the latest Super Bowl odds?