As you sent the kids back to school this morning, I hope you prepared yourself for a history lesson as well.
Because Dez Bryant is about to embark on the most prolific season ever by a Dallas Cowboys’ receiver. Stuff that in your backpack.
For a franchise that boasts Hall-of-Famers Bob Hayes and Michael Irvin, ‘70s All-Decade member Drew Pearson and even the productive, petulant Terrell Owens, Bryant’s 2013 season will re-boot the record books.
Barring injury of course, he’ll break Irvin’s team-record for catches (111 in ’95) and yards (1,603 in ’95), and Terrell Owens’ mark for touchdowns (15 in ’07).
Dez hasn’t fully matured as an NFL receiver. But if this preseason has taught us anything, he’s finally reached puberty.
And that means watch out NFL. By December he just might be the best receiver in the league.
“He’s got that kind of talent, yes,” owner Jerry Jones told us media in the Cowboys’ locker room after their 24-18 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. “We’re seeing a lot of the things from Dez we thought we would see when we drafted him.”
For a couple years Dez merely caught the football. He’s now learning there’s much more to playing receiver. Route-running. An intricate knowledge of the plays. Sometimes playing defense on poorly thrown passes. Channeling emotions into positive energy rather than distracting sideline outbursts. Removed as a punt returner and beyond the domestic dispute with his mother, jewelry loans, etc. that plagued his Cowboys’ infancy, Dez is now poised to dominate his position more than any other player with a star on his helmet.
Against the Bengals Saturday night at AT&T Stadium he was a ‘Boy against boys, catching five passes and a touchdown on a second-quarter drive that provided a glimpse of his potential. Near the goal-line, he merely shrugged off cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick – the 17th overall draft pick in 2012 from Alabama – and nabbed a touchdown like a dad toying with his toddler.
In a little more than three pre-season quarters (10 series), Dez amassed 13 catches for 183 yards.
The Cowboys have deficiencies. Dez can take up the slack.
“I don’t look at it as pressure,” he said after the game. “I always have a high standard for myself. That’s just how it goes. If I put up the numbers, I put them up.”
To have the best receiving season in Cowboys’ history, Bryant has to average seven catches, 100 yards and one touchdown per game.
Consider it done.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.