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Cowboys vs Panthers Film Study: Why is Dez still on returns?

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I finished breaking down the Cowboys-Panthers film, and I posted some observations from the game at NBC.

  • I think it’s time to take Dez Bryant off of punt returns. Yes, he has some explosiveness, but the risks are too great. For one, the Cowboys simply can’t afford to lose Bryant on offense. Secondly, despite his ability to break tackles, Bryant isn’t a natural returner. He’s not incredibly fluid and I’d be willing to bet he’ll fumble on a punt return before he breaks another big one.
  • In my game plan for Dallas, I suggested Rob Ryan blitz often. He did, but I didn’t see too many zone blitzes early in the game. That’s probably one of the reasons Cam Newton was able to gash the Cowboys on the ground in the first half, ultimately rushing for 64 yards; he took off on a few scrambles when the Cowboys were in man coverage and had their backs turned to him. The ‘Boys played more zone coverage in the second half and they were able to stifle Newton’s rushing efforts.

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