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Dez Days


end, so nipping at the heels of all three eventual Hall of Famers at the top of the Cowboys' rookie touchdown chart. 

And when it comes to receiving touchdowns, chances are Bryant at least is going to finish second all-time among Cowboys rookie wideouts, Hayes leading with his 12 and Antonio Bryant second with six. Dez Bryant's five already matches the rookie totals of Michael Irvin (1988), Sherrard and Billy Joe DuPree (1978). 

His pace for receiving touchdowns? Well that would be 8.8. 

Oh, by the way, those two punt returns he has for touchdowns already? No Cowboys player, not Hayes, Deion Sanders, Kevin Williams, Kelvin Martin or Patrick Crayton, has ever returned more than two kicks for touchdowns in a single season, rookie or otherwise. 

Pause for a second to let all this sink in. 

And really, the sky is the limit for Bryant the rest of the way since he spent the majority of the season's first half as the Cowboys' nickel receiver, meaning coming in on three-receiver sets and rarely getting snaps in the base two-receiver sets. The guard just might be changing if the Giants game is any indication. 

Easily, Bryant had more two-receiver-set snaps in that 33-20 victory over the Giants than in any other game this season, and certainly the more the rookie understands and shows he can handle it, the more he is going to get. 

"He's a young player who really has made the transition in a short period of time," Garrett says. 

Just take the problems Bryant created in two-receiver sets for the Giants, who seemed preoccupied with doubling Miles Austin and making sure Jason Witten didn't dice them up in the middle as he did the first time around with nine catches for 95 yards. The Cowboys went two receivers, with Bryant on the backside, when he caught up with Kitna's seemingly overthrown ball for 45 yards down to the 13. 

And on the very next play Kitna spotted Bryant still in man coverage to the left, lofting the touchdown pass Bryant caught so inexplicably the official standing right there peering in on the play couldn't believe his eyes evidently, the incomplete ruling eventually overturned when Garrett challenged the call. 

Later, on second-and-seven at the Cowboys' 45 with two receivers in the game, Bryant made a believer of the hovering officials, his leaping, body-contorted catch ruled a completion until further review spotted the bobble while landing on his back, even though he regained possession. Otherwise, he would have added 55 more yards to his 104-yard total, the first 100-yard performance of his career and a Cowboys rookie first since Antonio Bryant's 170-yard performance in 2002. 

The Cowboys aren't foolish. Bryant at least will be sharing the second-receiver duties with Roy Williams going forward, and the more he understands what he's supposed to do, the more snaps he'll get. Even Williams understands what's taking place, saying, "He's an exciting football player." 

And you might say defenses aren't foolish either, that the amount of single coverage he receives will begin diminishing greatly. Fine, because if you double Dez and double Austin and then try to cover Witten with a tight end then it becomes even more incumbent on the Cowboys to effectively run the football, which they finally finally showed they could do against the Giants. 

If they can do so on a more consistent basis, then as Kitna figures it, "If we run the football, sooner or later we get someone in single coverage. Just rush for 100 yards a game." 

Then juice will flow. 

And to think this Cowboys coaching staff that very first week of training camp was ridiculed, accused of dabbling in premature hyperbole when assessing this kid's talent. 


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