One of the big competitions for the Cowboys this summer will be for the role of third wide receiver, a battle that will be broken down in greater detail later Monday on DallasCowboys.com.
As much as the team would like a player to step up and take over for Laurent Robinson, one of the most obvious ways to replace his production will be to get more out of the starters. For Miles Austin that will mean better health. He was in and out of the lineup with hamstring injuries and was limited to just 43 catches.
For Dez Bryant, though, the issue is one of consistency. The Cowboys need Bryant to reach his potential this season, and play up to it more often. That'll mean, among other things, continued improvement in his grasp of the offense and how different looks from the defense change his responsibilities on a given play.
Now that on-field teaching sessions have begun, coaches can be hands-on in helping Bryant take the next step. Jimmy Robinson, the team's wide receivers coach, likes what he's seen from Bryant so far.
"He's doing great," Robinson said. "He's having a good offseason, really working hard and getting better out here every day. Again, that's got to carry over to the next phase, to the OTAs and the training camp and then the regular season, gameday."
Robinson is constantly measuring Bryant's progress.
"Play by play," Robinson said. "How's he doing? Is he picking things up well, is he making mistakes, is he repeating mistakes? It's a real gradual, play by play, day by day process. It takes a lot of time."
Bryant caught 63 passes for 928 yards last year, with nine touchdowns, and that was without the benefit of summer coaching and OTAs, which were wiped away by the offseason lockout.
If his growth was stunted at all last year, it's important to make up for that now.
"The teaching sessions got off to a good start," Robinson said. "He's out here working really, really hard to get better, and it's got to make a difference. If it doesn't, then what's the point of the offseason program?
"I'm confident it's going to help."