IRVING, Texas – "Consistent" would have been the last word used to describe wide receiver Dez Bryant through the early portion of his career and the first half of this season.
But after four straight games with a touchdown, including two straight with two touchdowns apiece, the 2010 first-round pick is becoming the model of reliability and steadiness for this year's first-round selection.
"Dez is awesome," said rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne. "The things that I've seen him do since I've been here, he always wows me. I'm just trying to get to that level of playing consistent every game. Here and there this year I'm having games where I'm up and the next week I'm down and the next one's a pretty solid one. I'm just trying to get into that rotation, getting off that rollercoaster and trying to get it level."
Claiborne recorded the secondary's first interception at Carolina and followed that performance up with a fumble recovery against the Giants, when he also held Hakeem Nicks to four catches for 46 yards.
He has also had his less than stellar performances, allowing Bears receiver Devin Hester to get behind him for a 34-yard touchdown and, most recently, committing five penalties and allowing a touchdown pass to Riley Cooper in the Cowboys' first matchup against the Eagles.
Perhaps he learned something after that meeting. Three weeks later, Claiborne didn't commit a single penalty and wasn't responsible for the majority of explosive plays from the Eagles offense Sunday.
"You have to forget things and move on from it," Claiborne said. "I've been a cornerback for quite a while now, and I've learned in college things are going to happen and you've got to move on from it. That game was a big teaching game for me. I feel like it was just growing pains for me."
Claiborne said he felt like he got his redemption after returning a fumble recovery 50 yards in the fourth quarter for his first NFL touchdown, which ended up being the difference in the game. His first professional touchdown was eerily similar to his final collegiate touchdown, when he returned a fourth quarter interception 45 yards for a touchdown to put the dagger in Georgia in the Southeastern Conference Championship.
This touchdown might mean more to the rookie cornerback, who plans on getting the ball back from the equipment staff.
"When I jumped into the end zone, when I came down it kind of fell out of my hand," Claiborne said. "I went right back to it to pick it up. The referee asked for it, and I'm like, 'No, I'm going to keep it.'"