Dez Bryant agrees that he's playing better

December, 14, 2013
12/14/13
1:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- The numbers say one thing, but the play on the field says another: Dez Bryant is playing much better in 2013 than he did in 2012.

Bryant is running better routes, making better adjustments and having a bigger impact whether he catches the ball or not. The only real negative on Bryant's season, if you don't count the sideline rant in Detroit, is the team-high nine dropped passes.

[+] EnlargeDez Bryant
AP Photo/James D SmithDez Bryant said that he's made significant strides to become a more well-rounded receiver in 2013.
"I think he’s a better player now than he was last year," coach Jason Garrett said. "Better player, more capable of doing a lot of different things. He’s a mismatch player who’s hard for people to guard in one-on-one situations. We go to him a lot and he comes through."

Bryant agrees.

"I feel the exactly same way," Bryant said. "I'm a much more better receiver than last year."

How do you know?

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

On the season, Bryant is 17th in the NFL in catches with 70 and 19th in yards with 908. His 10 touchdowns place him into a tie for 10th in scoring with non-kickers.

When you look at his receiving totals, Bryant lags behind some of his contemporaries.

Bryant has fewer catches than Andre Johnson (league-leading 95), Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson, Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas.

"If you pay attention to it a lot, you would be like, 'I can do those things,'" Bryant said. "You just try your best. I just got to try my best not to let that stuff get in the way. I'm a very confident person. I believe in all the ability God blessed me with and it will never change no matter what it would look like."

Bryant has endured some frustrating moments in 2013. He had three catches in Detroit, one catch in New Orleans and is coming off a game where he had just two catches for 12 yards against Chicago on Monday night.

Last season, Bryant exploded in the last eight weeks of the year, leading the NFL with 10 touchdown catches and finishing third with 879 yards. With three games remaining this season, Bryant has just 25 catches in the second half of the year for 267 yards and two touchdowns.

"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 on with not only me but a lot of other guys. You can't control what's going on."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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