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A Real Offseason

!Like other rookies, Dez Bryants career development could be stunted by a work stoppage.

training as much as they would like.

Bryant in particular has much to lose in a lockout because the Cowboys were counting on him to come in with a greater familiarity of the offense and all the different receiver positions, which would in turn allow them to dictate matchups and get the ball to him more. But if he can't catch passes from Tony Romo and can't work with his new position coach, Jimmy Robinson, the Cowboys have no way of knowing what to expect from Bryant, who they would love to see take the next step in his career.

Of course, Romo did say he would personally organize throwing sessions with his receivers if need be this offseason, but that remains to be seen. One has to wonder anyway how much can really be accomplished if that work isn't overseen by coaches and put on film for the guys to watch later.

The Cowboys are definitely not the only team that needs things resolved as soon as possible for the betterment of their on-field product, but they're right there in that class. Imagine the team having to play a pickup game right now against the Packers or the Steelers. Considering the way the three clubs looked the last time we saw each of them play a game, the Cowboys would have virtually no chance.

It's not to say they wouldn't be able to compete after a full offseason program and a training camp, although both are very much in jeopardy.

But those things are only a drop in the bucket compared to what is really at stake here. The players union and the 31 other owners certainly won't be pressed to make a deal because of what a lockout would mean for the Cowboys' offseason preparation.

Still, one can only imagine how much angst Jones and a lot of other owners will have if the progress of their team is threatened should the best case scenario not come to pass by Friday.

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