Will Dez Bryant return to 2014 form in an offense featuring Ezekiel Elliott?

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Dez Bryant has never ranked higher than seventh in targets. That came in 2013. In his All-Pro season of 2014, Bryant ranked only 12th in targets with 136 but made 88 catches for 1,320 yards and a league-best 16 touchdowns.

Bryant has battled injuries the past two seasons, missing 10 total games. His combined catches (81), yards (1,197) and touchdowns (11) combined in 2015-16 don’t equal his output in 2014.

Can Bryant get back to his 2014 level in an offense that attempted only 38 passes that traveled 20 or more yards through the air last season, that drafted another slot receiver in Ryan Switzer and that plans to make running back Ezekiel Elliott an even bigger part of the offense this season?

“We’re just going to see what happens,” Bryant said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Like I said, I feel good. Also what a lot of these people have to understand, hey, man, we’re not a pass friendly offense. That’s no disrespect. I respect what we do around here, and I accepted that. But when that ball comes my way, I’m going to do what I’ve got to do.

“I sit here and say, ‘I don’t think nobody has been more productive with the amount of targets that I get.’ I don’t get as many, and I’m not complaining. At the same time, if I was getting that many passes, I’d be doing that much damage [as other feature receivers] too.”

This stands as an important year for Bryant, 28. He enters the third year of a five-year, $70 million deal with a $17 million cap hit this year and $16.5 million each of the next two seasons. The Cowboys need a healthy Bryant to show them he remains among the best at his position.

10 responses to “Will Dez Bryant return to 2014 form in an offense featuring Ezekiel Elliott?

  1. “He enters the third year of a five-year, $70 million deal with a $17 million cap hit this year and $16.5 million each of the next two seasons.”

    I see a trade coming soon.

  2. When giving the opportunity and with more of the training wheels off Dak he should be alright, last year he played well. I see the up and up.

  3. “I sit here and say, ‘I don’t think nobody has been more productive with the amount of targets that I get.’ I don’t get as many, and I’m not complaining”

    Hey Dez, you don’t bring it up if you aren’t complaining.
    PS: It wasn’t a catch.

  4. All I’ll say is I feel like whenever I hear a “Run first offense” I take it as a backhand compliment but as long as we score 500 points (New team record) and get to the NFC title game (one you get to the title game 50/50 chance to win) I’ll take it. This season I’m expecting Dak to get 4200+ yards, 30 touchdowns 7 ints, Dez gonna get 90+ catches, 1200-1400 yards and 12-18 touchdowns, Zeke gonna get 1400-1600 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns along with 4 pro bowlers on the o-line(LT, Center, RG and RT) CowboysNation

  5. The Cowboys have been a winning team without Dez. They were a winning team before Zeke. They haven’t been a winning team when Romo was hurt, until they got another great QB, Dak. Bottom line, when you have a great QB you win. The other skill guys don’t matter.

  6. Short answer: No. And who’s going to take on that albatross of a contract for an oft-injured diva that’s one blowup away from a suspension? Nobody wanted to take on Romo’s either, so good luck with that… unless maybe Jerrah throws in Dez’s babysitter and prepays him?

  7. Dez is Dez. He’s talented, he’s emotional, he’s hurt often, and yes he sometimes disappears for an entire game. But, when he’s on he’s on, and there aren’t many receivers I’d rather have when it’s time to throw the ball into the end zone.

  8. Bryant doesn’t have to “return to form”. He wasn’t 100% – and had a get used to a new QB – early last season, but over the final 8 full games he played (including playoffs) his stat line was nearly as good as usual, even though it isn’t as much of a passing offense as it once was. He doesn’t have elite speed or separation, but he high-points the ball as well or better than anyone in the business, and he also is a terrific blocker, unlike many elite receivers. Someone above called him a diva – wrong. He is emotional, and occasionally immature, but he’s never complained about not getting the ball enough (anti-Dallas people try to make it look like he does, but they’re lying). Also, to the guy above who thinks it’s all about the QBs, the reason Dallas lost in 2015 wasn’t just because Romo was hurt – it was because Romo AND Bryant were hurt. You can’t take the two best offensive players out of an offense and think it will be anything close to what it normally is. Bryant isn’t in the top 3, but he continues to be an elite WR who is a monster in the red zone.

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