Dez Bryant is in the midst of one of his least productive stretches of his career.
The Dallas Cowboys star receiver has been held to 45 or fewer receiving yards in each of the past three games, catching only 11 of 29 targets. Bryant has gone against two of the better cornerbacks in the league the past two weeks, Miami’s Brent Grimes and Carolina’s Josh Norman, and is also playing through multiple injuries.
But that isn’t an excuse, coach Jason Garrett said.
“He’s not quite himself, but he’s working hard to getting back to 100 percent,” Garrett said. “He’s done a good job of getting himself ready to play in games as he’s dealing with a number of different injuries. It’s a tribute to his competitive spirit and what he’s all about – his mental and physical toughness.
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“But when you watch him play, he’d be the first one to tell you that he needs to become more refined in everything that he’s doing. Typically that comes with the work that you get in practice. So we’ll keep working with him on that so hopefully that shows up on a more consistent basis in the game.”
Bryant caught two of eight targets for 26 yards in last Thursday’s loss against Carolina; he had four catches on nine targets for 45 yards and a touchdown against Miami; and he had five catches on 12 targets for 45 yards against Tampa Bay.
Bryant has only one 100-yard receiving game in five games since returning from a fractured right foot that sidelined him the previous five games. Bryant then injured his ankle and knee while making a touchdown catch in Week 8 against Philadelphia, his first game back from the foot injury.
Bryant has been slowed by injuries since training camp, and part of that is due to him missing most of the off-season workouts in a contract dispute.
Garrett said Bryant is in “good enough football shape,” but his standard of play is higher than most. Coming into the season, Bryant had posted three consecutive seasons with at least 1,200 receiving yards and double-digit touchdowns.
So far this season, he has 280 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
“Obviously the standard that he has set as a player is high, and he wants to achieve that standard more than anybody else on the planet,” Garrett said. “He wants to exceed what that standard has been, and that’s why he’s the kind of player that he’s been over the course of his career.”