Ravens are taking wait and see approach with veteran WR Dez Bryant

The Baltimore Ravens signing of veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant to their practice squad has generated a lot of buzz and fanfare in the media and among the Flock faithful.

However, the three-time Pro Bowler will have to prove himself first on the practice field before he will be considered for elevation to the active roster and suit up on game days.

“He’s going to play on the practice squad right now and we’ll see how it progresses from there,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s very simple. We’ll just see where he’s at. He hasn’t played for how many years? There’s a lot to learn. He looked good in the workout. I don’t think you need to make too much more out of it than that. He’s on our practice squad roster, which means he’s available to us. When and if he’s ready to go, he’ll be out there.”

While Harbaugh’s comments from his Wednesday presser aren’t what fans and pundits want to hear right now, he’s got a valid point. Bryant hasn’t played in an NFL game in the pre, regular, or postseason in almost three years.

The last time he appeared in a game was in Week 17 of the 2017 regular season as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. He didn’t have a great final year with the team that drafted him 24th overall out of Oklahoma State and suffered a torn Achilles tendon in November of 2018.

That is a lot of time off and raises more questions about what he can bring to the table than answers about what he has left in the tank.

Reigning league MVP and Ravens star signal-caller Lamar Jackson has been keeping tabs on Bryant’s comeback journey and approved of the move to bring him aboard.

“It’s tremendous,” Jackson said. “We’ve just got to see what he’s capable of. I see him on IG a lot doing his thing, running, getting after it. Those guys did a great job upstairs bringing him in. We just got to see if he’s ready, see what he’s capable of and go from there.”

While Harbaugh and Jackson took the wait and see approach when talking about Bryant, Ravens veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith who came into the league around the same time as him and knows what the 31-year-old is capable of as a pass-catcher when healthy.

Smith even went as far as to compare him to another former veteran receiver that made the most of his time in Baltimore and was a key piece in their 2012 championship run.

“A healthy Dez is an X-factor,” Smith said. “I’ve been playing against him since college. You know what he’s capable of. Big body. When he’s covered he still catches the ball. Kind of like when we had Anquan Boldin back in the day. Just makes those great contested catches, and just has that dog attitude that you want on your offense.”

The Ravens are in need of just the kind of proven receiver that Smith described Bryant as on offense. Someone who can take some of the attention away from Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews in the red zone and be a reliable possession receiver for Jackson in the passing game.

Andrews told reporters on Monday that he’s excited for the opportunity to work with and learn from a seasoned pro like Bryant who plays with a similar style as a pass catcher to a player like him that is essentially a big-bodied receiver playing tight end.

“That’d be cool,” said Andrews. “He’s an OG [original gangster] type guy, he’s been around the league for a long long time…They’ve done it and they’ve been there so it’s super exciting for me.”

If Bryant can prove in practice that he can bring an element to that side of the ball that they currently don’t have or are lacking, he’ll be suiting up and making plays in not time but for now we’ll just have to wait and see.

Please follow and like us:

You may also like...

Follow by Email