Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys’ Dez Bryant showing signs of being elite again

Dez Bryant made a one-handed TD catch on Thursday.
Dez Bryant made a one-handed TD catch on Thursday. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Dez Bryant considers himself among the top wide receivers in the game, but Las Vegas oddsmakers don’t seem to agree right now.

Nine receivers have better odds than Bryant to lead the league in receiving, according to Bovada. Bryant is in a group of six receivers with 33-to-1 odds, along with Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, T.Y. Hilton, Brandon Marshall and Demaryius Thomas.

The odds-on favorite is Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown is 2-to-1. Atlanta’s Julio Jones (3/1), New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. (15/2) and Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins (10/1) are also among the favorites.

In an interview with the NFL Network on Wednesday, Bryant seemed determined to reclaim his spot among the elite receivers in the game.

“There’s only one thing I’ve got to go out there and do, that’s go out there and be me,” Bryant said. “I love Antonio brown. I love Julio Jones. I love Odell Beckham. I put myself up there with those guys as well.

“But it’s not all about me sitting here talking. I’m just going to go out there and show them. That’s something I’m real damn good at doing.”

Bryant is coming off a forgettable year in which he dealt with foot, ankle and knee injuries. He posted career-lows in receiving yards (401), touchdowns (3) and games played (9).

But Bryant is showing signs of having a bounce back year and may be a smart bet to realistically pull off the feat in leading the league in receiving yards.

Bryant made another spectacular one-handed catch during team drills Thursday, splitting cornerback Brandon Carr and safety Byron Jones, in hauling in Tony Romo’s pass in the back of the end zone.

It’s those types of plays that have Romo and coach Jason Garrett buzzing about Bryant being back healthy.

“You’re seeing flashes of him,” Romo said Wednesday. “I think by the end of the week he’s going to be Dez Bryant again, if he’s not already there. It’s all about getting yourself in great physical condition and pushing yourself everyday. We know how talented he is.”

Asked about the one-handed catch following Thursday’s practice, Garrett said: “He’s capable of making those plays. But just like with all our players, you have to get steeped in fundamentals. For him, it’s getting in the right stance, releasing off the line of scrimmage, running routes the right way, coming out of his breaks, attacking the football and just doing the basic fundamental things.

“He’s done a good job – knocking off the rust and getting better and better every day.”