Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Just like "Pacman" Jones, Cowboys WR Dez Bryant can change - Fort Worth Star Telegram

engel IRVING -- The last time the Dallas Cowboys had a "plan" in place for one of their employees, it resulted in the guy "just jivin' around" at the Joule Hotel in Dallas.

That was Adam "Pacman" Jones in 2008, when he got into a fight with a security guard and the cops arrived.The plan and the intent were decent enough, but at that particular time, nothing Jerry Jones could do could prevent Pacman from being Pacman.No player who has come through this town this century seemed destined for a prison cell, or worse, than Pacman did when he came to the Cowboys in 2008.He was going to do what he wanted to do.Today, Pacman has become the player and the person both he, the Tennessee Titans and the Dallas Cowboys wanted him to become.Have you heard a thing out of Pacman since he landed with the Bengals a couple of years ago?Show of hands: Who thought, with his loooooong laundry list of off-the-field issues, that this guy not only would be able to stay in the NFL incident free but would be a speaker at an NFL rookie symposium?Is there a better person to speak to a group of aspiring pros than Adam "Pacman" Jones? He is the perfect paradigm of what can go wrong -- and what can go right.Now, the Cowboys have a similar situation on their hands with Dez Bryant -- a guy who potentially should be so much, but for whom it has not clicked.The team has outlined a "lesson plan" for Dez, which includes a curfew, a security team and to stay away from strip clubs and alcohol.(Many adult establishments throughout the greater FW/d area are not condoning every aspect of this plan.)Despite what you think about his chances of being able to get it together, the Cowboys have to try."We need to help him; we need to support him," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday."But again, we need to hold him accountable. I think this is just an example of that."Unlike Pacman, who, by the time he arrived to the Cowboys, had assembled an impressive rap sheet, Bryant's stuff has been a parking ticket.The Cowboys' interest in this deal obviously first and foremost is the player. Their best chance to win games is to have Dez's talent and his ability on the field when they play the Giants next week.I believe Jerry wants to do the right thing and give Dez, the Person, a shot, but he needs Dez, the Player, to win NFL games. It's the NFL. This isn't the Boy Scouts.This lesson plan is about doing everything possible to prevent NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell from suspending Dez for his domestic disturbance last month with his mother, and keeping his talents on the field for 16 games.There aren't many people on this planet who can make the type of catches he made in the back of the end zone against the Chargers in a preseason game last week that didn't even count.No one on the Cowboys brings the scare factor the way Dez does.No one has the go-get-it ability on this roster the way Dez does.If Miles Austin's hamstring ever heals, would you lean a safety his way or toward Dez? Dez. Every time.It is up to Dez whether this plan will work and he can remain incident free.The Cowboys had a similar plan for Pacman and it did not work because he jived at a hotel.Jerry and Garrett can put every single plan into place and provide a 24-hour security detail, but ultimately it is on Dez.You may not think he can, and the odds are not in his favor, but he can do this.If Pacman can, Dez can.For Dez's sake it has to start yesterday.He is signed through 2013 and, for a franchise that prefers to extend players before they can become a free agent, it will be telling if they let Dez go into next season unsigned.It all depends on what happens between today and the end of the season.It starts on the field. If Dez becomes an 80-catch, 1,000-yard, 13-touchdown receiver this season, the team will sign on for more headaches.This says nothing if Dez consistently can't be relied on by his quarterback to be where he is supposed to be when he is supposed to be on a given play.If he has another "run-in," plays 12 games, catches 60 balls and it's more of the same potential vs. production equation, Garrett is going to lean on his GM to dump Dez."Dez has done everything that we've asked him to do at this point," Garrett said.Dez Bryant is 23, and it is not too late for him to get it.Whether he "gets it" with the Cowboys, or another team, is up to him.He can.Pacman did.Mac Engel, 817-390-7697Twitter: @MacEngelProf

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