If the Dallas Cowboys appreciate Dez Bryant’s newfound maturity off the field, they’re going to love his on-field goals for 2013.
After last year’s breakout season, Bryant believes he’s “still scratching the surface.”
Can he bypass Calvin Johnson as the NFL’s top receiver while becoming the first player in NFL history to reach 2,000 yards in a single season?
“I feel like it can be a lot more,” Bryant told ESPN-Dallas. “That’s just being honest. I honestly feel like [2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns] can potentially happen.”
While Bryant’s elite talent is beyond dispute, former Oakland Raiders great Tim Brown recently questioned the physical receiver’s ability to make it through 16 games with an out-of-control, “kamikaze” style of play.
Bryant risked his long-term NFL future by playing through a fractured finger in December, closing out the season with a lower-back injury that left him wheelchair-bound as he exited the stadium.
Yet to run routes this offseason due to the back injury, Bryant could end up missing all or part of organized team activities this offseason. There’s no concern that the injury will linger into training camp.
Don’t expect him to adopt a more cautious, less physical approach to avoid future injuries. “That’s just how I play. That’s my type of game. That’s my style of play,” Bryant said via the Dallas Morning News. “I’m going to keep playing that way. I don’t think about injuries. I just go out there and play.”
The final eight games of Bryant’s 2012 season project to 1,758 yards and 20 touchdowns across a full season. In an increasingly pass-heavy NFL, he’s capable of reaching the 2,000-yard in a best-case scenario.
The key is to maintain that production level while staying out of the trainers’ room.