Signs point to Dez Bryant declining as a top receiver in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys star pass catcher went a third straight season without 1,000 yards, finishing with 838, and failed to record a 100-yard receiving game for the first time since 2011.
But fellow receiver Terrance Williams doesn’t buy into the idea that Bryant is past his prime.
“Dez ain’t going to never fade,” Williams said. “It still has to go through Dez and that’s never going to change.
“That’s the guy that always sets the tone for me personally. ... It’s kind of hard for him. He’s put up on such a high pedestal to where he can’t throw the ball to himself. There were plenty of times where he was wide open and the quarterbacks didn’t get it off.
“Well, that’s not their problem, but it’s just the problems that Dez goes through.”
Bryant finished the season leading the Cowboys with 69 catches for 838 yards and six touchdowns. But he averaged a career-worst 12.1 yards per reception and was among the league leaders in dropped passes.
There is a chance the Cowboys could ask Bryant to take a pay cut this off-season, or possibly even release him.
Bryant headlines the list of Cowboys receivers who had disappointing seasons. Cole Beasley saw his production more than cut in half, and Williams also had a forgettable season in which he didn’t have a touchdown reception for the first time in his five-year career.
But Williams said the receiving corps and quarterback Dak Prescott intend to spend more time together this off-season to build on what seems to be a lack of chemistry.
Williams added that the Cowboys will have additional motivation after missing the playoffs this season.
“When you don’t make it, you’re more conscious of what you do during the off-season as opposed to when you do go to the playoffs,” Williams said. “I think a lot of folks when you do go to playoffs, you get a little bit big-headed and you kind of don’t put in the same amount of work.
“When you don’t go to the playoffs, you remember all the bad stuff. It’s like a bad nightmare and it’s one of those things that’s going to keep driving you and driving you.”