After catching 92 passes for 1,392 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, there was every expectation that Dez Bryant would build on those numbers in 2013 _ especially the final flourish when he scored 10 touchdowns and averaged 109.8 receiving yards over the final eight games.
Bryant has been good in 2013, even great at times, but his numbers 70 catches for 908 yards and 10 touchdowns are less than was expected, even what Bryant targeted.
He openingly talked about shooting for 20 touchdowns and 2,000 receiving yards before the season.
But he has just two touchdowns over the last five games and is coming off a Bears game in which he had just two catches for 12 yards.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, however, said don't let the numbers fool you. He said Bryant is a better player than last year even if the numbers aren't showing it.
“Better player, more capable of doing a lot of different things,” Garrett said Thursday. “He’s a mismatch player who’s hard for people to guard in one-on-one situations. We got to him a lot and he comes through. You can put him in different spots. He handles that well. He plays more consistently, both his technique, just playing it at the right level with his intensity throughout the ballgame.
“He’s improved greatly. He’s a much more mature player than he’s been and you get into those situations where he might not be as productive in terms of how many receptions. But you’ve got to evaluate how he’s playing and he’s been very good for us.”