The Dallas Cowboys’ 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears last year was the start of something big for Dez Bryant. He used one of the worst games of his career for the good.
“I had to get on top of my [stuff],” Bryant said Thursday. “That’s what I had to do. Obviously there were some things there that I needed to clean up, sharpen up on my end.”
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo targeted Bryant 13 times in the Oct. 1, 2012, game against the Bears, and the receiver caught eight passes for 105 yards. But Bryant also had three drops, and his most egregious error came when he ran the wrong route in the second quarter.
Bryant ran a go instead of a hitch after being tricked by Bears cornerback Charles Tillman. Tillman returned the interception 25 yards for a touchdown, one of two pick-sixes by the Bears that day.
“It was basically decision-making,” Bryant said. “You can either feel bad, feel sorry for yourself or get your stuff together and be the person that you think that you can become.”
He became a better player after that — more conscientious during meetings and on the practice field.
“Tony needed to believe in me, and I needed to do my job right so he could do that,” Bryant said. “From there, not that I never took my job seriously, but I …paid more attention during meetings, asked more questions.”
Bryant had 50 receptions for 879 yards and 10 touchdowns in the second half of last season, scoring at least once in nine of the last 10 games. He has 68 catches for 896 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
Ware feels good
DeMarcus Ware believes it is time for him to get to the quarterback, and that he is in as good a shape as ever to do it.
“I’m glad I had this time off,” he said Thursday. “I was doing a lot of the moves I usually don’t do. I was doing them in practice, feeling real confident in it. I got my strength back, so I’m happy about that.”
Ware has not had a sack since the New Orleans Saints game, when he aggravated a quadriceps injury. He played 44 snaps against the Oakland Raiders and 52 snaps against the New York Giants, about 78 percent combined in the two games.
Ware is third on the team with five sacks. But he leads in quarterback pressures with 26.
Briefly• The Cowboys are as healthy as they’ve been in a while after six days off the field. They returned to practice Thursday with only cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring) and receiver Dwayne Harris (hamstring) sitting out.
• The Cowboys signed tight end Jameson Konz from Kent State and running back George Winn from Cincinnati to their practice squad.
• Jacksonville will host the Cowboys at noon on Nov. 9 next season as part of the 2014 International Series at Wembley Stadium in London. The game will be shown on Fox.