Taylor Williams

Tale Of The Tape: Dez Bryant Vs. The NFC East

Created on Apr. 17, 2013 9:00 PM EST

If nothing else, the release of the regular season schedule on April 18 ushers in clarity of thought and mind in Dallas. With the bulk of the offseason hype and speculation falling on the offense, it’ll be nice to know the other 10 defensive schemes that will test a Cowboys unit seemingly bound to a pass-heavy identity cultivated last season.

In 2012, the prodigiously unbalanced offense averaged 41 passes per game, accounting for two-thirds of plays called from scrimmage. Tony Romo finished with 648 passing attempts on the season — a career high by 98 throws. But while his interception numbers were getting padded by Hail Marys in impossibly tight games, DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones were dealing with injuries and the blocking tasks and public perception of the offensive line were growing graver, Dez Bryant delivered his breakout season.

Targeted on 21 percent of Romo’s passes, Bryant finished with 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns — good for sixth and third among wide receivers in 2012, respectively. He’s the Cowboys’ unquestioned No. 1 receiving threat, and plenty of NFC East cornerbacks can vouch for him.

The Eagles, Giants and Redskins all seem to have their starting corners entrenched. Some new, some not so much. But every divisional corner who will likely cover Bryant has some visibly exploitable holes in his game.

Add to these premises the fact that New York and Washington lack a definitive No. 1 cornerback, and Bryant’s value — at least in the world of fantasy football — ascends from promising to monumental.

Here’s a rundown of how he matches up with the NFC East’s top cornerbacks. The following players are ascribed the left cornerback position. With a right-handed quarterback like Romo and a mobile tight end like Jason Witten, the top receiver generally lines up on the left cornerback’s side in a three-wide formation.

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