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Friday, September 20, 2013
Dez Bryant says he's ready to roll

By Calvin Watkins

IRVING, Texas -- After taking a cautious approach in practice this week with back stiffness, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant said he will play in Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams.

Bryant
Bryant
Bryant suffered a back injury early in the Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and played through it. Bryant noted that this back stiffness is nowhere near the same injury he suffered in the 2012 regular-season finale at Washington. Then, his back tightened up so bad he needed a wheelchair to leave the stadium.

"I can roll," Bryant said. "We were just watching the situation. Don’t want to go out there and do anything crazy. We’ve got a long season."

Bryant's health improved during the week to the point that he was a full participant during Friday's practice in rainy conditions at Valley Ranch. He's listed as probable on the injury report.

"No concern. I got hit in my back. That’s what happened," he said. "If you take a blow to the back the way I took a blow to the back, you’re probably going to feel the same way I feel."

In two games, Bryant has 13 catches for 163 yards and one touchdown. In the first quarter of Sunday's game at Kansas City, Bryant had 100 receiving yards, but the Chiefs, after defending him with man coverage, doubled him more in the second half.

That seems to be a trend. Defenses are trying to take him out of games, but Bryant, according to ESPN's Stats & Information, is being targeted more in the final three quarters (13) than he is in the first quarter (seven). Yet the production is down.

Bryant is averaging 17.8 yards per reception in the opening quarter, but just 8 yards in the next three quarters.

"I just feel like we’ve got a lot of playmakers on this team," Bryant said. "Versus man coverage, you can basically go either way. You’ve got me and (Jason Witten) on the same side. You’ve got Terrance Williams. You’ve got Miles Austin. You’ve got Dwayne (Harris) also coming in. All of us can make some plays. That’s what you deal with each and every week. It’s all good. My number’s called, I’ll do my job."