Dez Bryant welcomes lofty expectations

ARLINGTON, Texas — Dez Bryant continued to add to his impressive preseason statistics Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.

The fourth-year wide receiver caught six passes for 54 yards and a touchdown in the first half of a 24-18 Dallas Cowboys victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. In the last three preseason games, Bryant and the first-team offense have been on the field for 10 series. During that time, Bryant has 13 receptions for 183 yards and one touchdown.

If Bryant continues to post numbers like that, numbers that show he’s capable of building on his strong second-half performance from last season, expectations will continue to grow.

“That’s fine,” Bryant said. “I don’t look at pressure. I go out and play my game. I always have a high standard for myself. … That’s just how it goes. If I put up the numbers, I put them up.”

Bryant’s second-quarter touchdown came on a back-shoulder fade from Tony Romo. Cincinnati’s Dre Kirkpatrick, the 17th overall pick in the 2012 draft, was defending but the 6-2, 185-pounder didn’t come close to winning the battle against the 6-2, 222-pound Bryant.

“That’s one thing me and Tony try to work on, having that chemistry on those certain type of plays,” Bryant said. “Every day in practice we work on it. We try our best to perfect it. Really, all these wide receivers and those quarterbacks, we try to build something and have a strong bond and understand each other the best that we possibly can. I think that’s showing up.”

Bryant excels at winning the battle for 50/50 balls against defensive backs who rarely match his strength or athleticism. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones compared Bryant’s ability in those situations to “playing defense on the ball.”

“If we can get confidence that Dez can play defense, if he can keep that ball from being intercepted,” Jones said, “then there’s going to be a lot of balls that come his way and let him break the tie with the defender.”

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