Dez Bryant practiced for the first time since fracturing his foot in the Dallas Cowboys' season opener, a sign that the All-Pro receiver could return for this week's game against the Seahawks.
"Dez is going to work each day, and as this week goes on he's going to take it day by day," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told reporters prior to Wednesday's practice. "Hopefully he can handle the work, and we'll make our best judgments as a coaching staff as to what his role may or may not be for this weekend."
While Bryant's status is up in the air this week, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said his team will prepare as if Bryant will play Sunday. After all, it's better to be prepared for one of the game's best receivers—Bryant finished last season with 88 catches for 1,320 yards and league-high 16 receiving touchdowns—and have him not play than it is to assume he won't be available and be unprepared if he does play.
"Yeah, we certainly will," Carroll said. "I have no idea what's going to happen with that, but we kind of always go that way. If a guy's got a chance to play, we're going to think he's going to play."
And if the Seahawks are preparing for Bryant, the question then becomes how they'll try to slow him down. For most of Carroll's tenure in Seattle, Seahawks cornerbacks have stuck to their side of the field, regardless of where top receivers line up, but there have been occasions where Richard Sherman has shadowed a team's top target, including last season when he spent a significant portion of Seattle's Week 6 loss to Dallas shadowing Bryant. Sherman covering Bryant was not, however, the plan leading up to the game, but rather an adjustment the Seahawks made after Byron Maxwell went down with a calf injury.
This season, however, the Seahawks have shown a willingness to move Sherman around more than in the past, having him play the nickel position against St. Louis, and having him move around to shadow Cincinnati's A.J. Green and San Francisco's Torrey Smith.
Understandably Carroll won't tip his hand on Seattle's plans for Sherman this week, but on the topic of Sherman doing more this season, he said, "He loves the challenge of it. He's got a great mentality about it, which is a big part of it. He had a terrific game against (Smith) last week. So I think it's all that—it's experience, it's his great awareness, and really his belief in kind of his own ability to match those kinds of things up and take to those challenges in a special way."