ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys pride themselves on blocking out the noise, but there's no denying Dez Bryant heard some of it this past week.
Having successfully bounced back from an ugly outing in the loss to New York, the Cowboys' star receiver wasn't shy about admitting much. Following a week in which the Cowboys' offense was roundly criticized for its failures against the Giants, Bryant was more than happy to dish some back.
"Half of these people that run their damn mouths, they're just stat players," Bryant said. "They don't understand football, the philosophy of football. You've just got to block it out."
That had to have been easier said than done after Bryant caught just one pass for 10 yards last week, coughing up a costly fumble in the process. But he delivered on his opportunities against the Buccaneers, catching eight of 10 targets for 82 yards on the night.
And while he didn't find the end zone, he did have a chance to come through in the clutch, as his 19-yard gain in the fourth quarter moved the Cowboys off their own 5-yard line, helping them on the way to their final field goal of the night.
[embeddedad0]As frustrating as it might have been to be shut down the week before, Bryant reiterated that he's aware of the way the Cowboys' offense works.
"Sometimes it's that way, sometimes it's not that way. Our style of football is different from everybody else's style of football," he said. "We have a game plan – we have a real game plan. We are a run first team, we are a physical football team. For the wide outs, we have to contribute whenever we get those opportunities."
Dak Prescott is bound to appreciate that patience from an established receiver, but this isn't exactly a new story. This week hasn't been the first time the Cowboys have caught criticism for Bryant's lack of involvement, but the rookie quarterback has always maintained the same approach to the offense.
"I always say it's not important to get anybody the ball over anybody else," Prescott said. "It's just kind of the read of the plays and the looks that the defense is giving us. Dez was getting open and making the catches."
Maybe that's not happening often enough for some. After missing three games due to injury, Bryant is on pace to finish this season with 55 catches for 858 yards and seven touchdowns. That's well below the numbers he became accustomed to in previous seasons – but, as he has repeated, the only stat Bryant is ever concerned with is wins.
"Some games it be that way, some games it don't be that way," he said. "At the end of the day, we just want the W – and we got it."