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December 15, 2013

Dez Bryant doesn't need numbers to tell him he's a better receiver than he was a year ago

Dez Bryant said he agrees with coach Jason Garrett, who said this week that Bryant is a better receiver than last year even if he does not have the numbers to show it.

“I feel the exact same way,” Bryant said.

But how does he know?

“My approach of the game, the understanding, reading coverages – I can go on and on about how much better I am than last year,” he said.

Bryant leads the Cowboys with 70 catches for 908 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is on pace for 86 catches, 1,118 yards and 12 touchdowns – numbers that would fall short of his career highs of 92 catches, 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns from a year ago.

Last year at this time, he had the most productive eight-game stretch to end a season in Cowboys history – 50 catches, 879 yards and 10 touchdowns. Michael Irvin had 51 catches over the final eight games in 1991 and 1995, but fewer yards and touchdowns. Miles Austin had 54 catches over the final eight in 2009, but again, fewer yards and touchdowns.

Bryant, with two catches for 12 yards and a touchdown last week, said he is not frustrated that he has not put up bigger numbers.

“Don’t get me wrong. You always want to make plays,” he said. “At times, you have to understand that you know what’s been going with not only me but a lot of other guys. You can’t control what’s going on.”

Asked if that attitude reflects his growing maturity, Bryant said, “Whatever you want to call it, it’s some things you have to accept. Some things you have to deal with. If it’s coming my way, I’m going to make a play. If it’s coming any receiver’s way, in Dallas, it’s going to make that play.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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