ARLINGTON, Texas – It's not surprising to see Dez Bryant flex his muscles against top NFL competition – he's done that for years.
What is remarkable is the sample size he's managed to do it with, given his All-Pro status. It's only the second week of the preseason, and the Cowboys – like any NFL team – have no interest in giving their Pro Bowlers extended playing time.
That's why Bryant, along with the likes of Tony Romo and Jason Witten, has appeared in only a handful of possessions so far this preseason. And yet, he's making the absolute most of them.
Bryant hauled in two passes for 46 yards and a touchdown on Friday against the Dolphins, bringing his preseason tally to four catches for 74 yards and two scores – all on a grand total of about five possessions.
"It's nothing surprising, it's just the work that we put in each and every week," Bryant said. "It started in the offseason, all the way to training camp – just being around my teammates, keeping each other lifted and motivated and just out here ready to play ball."
Bryant's confidence is a near-constant, so it's understandable that he's not surprised. It still has to be encouraging for the Dallas offense to see its top wide out – who was injured for the vast majority of 2015 – to return to his old ways so seamlessly.
As mentioned earlier, it's even more impressive when considering that Bryant is working with an average of 10-to-12 plays in these games, rather than a full allotment.
"It's just confirming a lot of things that I've been working on during the offseason," he said. "I feel good, my confidence level – like I said – is high. But I'm nowhere near where I know I can be."
Based on his early pace this preseason, it's scary to think of where he can go. Against the Rams, he abused one-on-one coverage to score a reaching touchdown on a back shoulder fade. In Friday's outing, he adjusted to another back shoulder ball and skirted along the sideline before being pushed through the corner of the end zone.
"I knew I was there and I knew I had it – off the real," he said. "I knew it already. I was glued to the ball, I knew where I was at."
Next week's trip to Seattle will offer a tantalizing tuneup for the regular season, as Bryant and the Cowboys will serve as the dress rehearsal for Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and the rest of the Seahawks defense.
That wasn't about to dim his confidence, though – not given his form in the first two outings. After the struggles of last year and the long wait of the offseason, Dez sounds determined he'll be turning things around soon.
"I think one of the biggest challenges, for me, is being consistent to my work that I've been doing in the offseason," he said. "As long as I can stay on that, I can be dominant – and I believe it from the bottom of my heart."
Take a look at some of the action happening before the Cowboys face the Dolphins at AT&T Stadium.