Dez Bryant, the grown-up kid who sees the world with great clarity when he in on the football field, has a "Three C'' focus in this offseason.
"We gotta get that Super Bowl. We need to get that Super Bowl. We goin' to," Bryant said in a Facebook Live post on Monday (see it here). "We became one, we became a family and (expletive) we balled out. ... We gonna do it this year though. I know that for a fact ... I can't wait."
The first Dallas Cowboys issue there is the Super Bowl goal. Dez' Cowboys, in both 2014 and 2016, felt like they were on the lip of the cup. Last year, with that 13-3 record, plus home-field advantage and a playoff bye? It's made him hunger for a title all the more.
But along with "championship talk'' comes "context.'' Bryant has long viewed some in the media as being biased against him, as targeting him, as at the very least twisting his words. He wants it made clear that the Facebook Live post included comments that were essentially part of a full conversation with his audience, and not some ego-driven boast. He therefore tweeted this on Tuesday, a day after the Facebook post:
It's important to him that Cowboys Nation knows he's not "just running my mouth,'' that his enthusiasm comes from a confidence borne in part from the offseason workouts here inside The Star in Frisco.
"We got a lot of guys working out,'' he said. "There haven't been this many guys working out this early in I don't know how long. It's not mandatory, either, so that's the most beautiful thing about this whole workout plan. ... We lost a lot (of talent in free agency) but we've still got a lot of great leaders up in there who want to show these young guys how it's supposed to be done."
And that is the most important point of the message. The Cowboys' Pro Bowl receiver cannot completely control "context''; observers will do what they do. Dez cannot completely control "championships,'' obviously. But "captains' workouts''? That is the "C'' that is within the control of the Cowboys' locker-room leaders.
Tony Romo isn't part of these daily workouts, it should be noted; I might throw in here that given the drama involving his coming divorce from the team, it's a good thing he's not a captain, as his absence would be even more damaging. But Dez is present and accounted for, though he's not a captain, either. (A wrong I think should be righted this fall.) In my conversation with Bryant about the Facebook post and the on-field sessions -- at which by NFL rule coaches are not allowed to participate -- team leaders are in charge.
"Captains' workouts,'' they're called, Dez confirmed to me, with guys like Jason Witten, Dan Bailey and Sean Lee ("The General,'' Dez called him) in charge. "That's exactly what it is.''
Ah, yes, Jason Witten. COO Stephen Jones confirmed to me a four-year extension for the future Hall-of-Fame tight end, and before we gripe about the notion of paying an aging player through 2021, we need to know the structure. (Sources tell me the Cowboys WILL realize cap savings in 2017 as a result of the move, which keeps his 2017 numbers, for the time being, at $7.4 mil in salary and $12.2 mil in cap impact.) But misunderstand, or gripe, as we might, there is Witten, dutifully taking to the practice field on a regular basis ... a captain, in context, working toward a championship.
As observers, we don't always get "context'' right. As a team, these Cowboys haven't get gotten "championship'' right. But "Captains' workouts''? Amid the tumult of offseason change, there is clarity for Dez Bryant and Jason Witten and this team as they are getting those exactly right.