Cowboys coach Garrett sees a lot of improvement in Bryant

Cowboys coach Garrett sees a lot of improvement in Bryant

Published Dec. 12, 2013 11:01 a.m. ET

IRVING, Texas – Statistics show that Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant had a breakout second half of the season a year ago.

In the Cowboys' final eight games, Bryant averaged 109.8 receiving yards and scored 10 touchdowns.

Although he hasn't repeated that stat-sheet success this season, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett says Bryant's a better player than he was in 2012.

"Better player, more capable of doing a lot of different things," Garrett said Thursday. "He's a mismatch player who's hard for people to guard in one-on-one situations. We got to him a lot and he comes through. You can put him in different spots. He handles that well. He plays more consistently, both his technique, just playing it at the right level with his intensity throughout the ballgame.

"He's improved greatly. He's a much more mature player than he's been and you get into those situations where he might not be as productive in terms of how many receptions. But you've got to evaluate how he's playing and he's been very good for us."

During the second half of this season, which has been five games, Bryant is averaging 53.4 yards per game to go along with two touchdowns.

Monday night in Chicago, Bryant was targeted four times. He made two catches, which included a two-yard touchdown to cap the game's opening drive. Bryant finished with 12 receiving yards, his lowest total since his rookie year in 2010.

"I think one of the things that happened the other night in the ball game is we had 42 or 44 plays with our starters in there and I think we ran it 25 times," Garrett said. "So there's not that many opportunities. Now, if we ran it really poorly and we rushed for 1.8 a carry then you say, 'What the heck are we doing here?' But we were very effective running the football in those conditions and as a result of that I think Tony [Romo] threw it [20 times] and [Jason Witten] had a couple of targets, Dez had four targets and we just didn't have that many opportunities in the passing game.

"He's a big part of what we're doing and will always be a big part of what we're doing and we've just got to make sure we get him some opportunities during the game and we'll keep trying to do that."