Dez Bryant had a rough go of it in 2015, from a contract holdout to an ailing hamstring injury to a broken foot. Not much went right for the Dallas wide receiver last season (or for the Cowboys as a whole). Fortunately, both he and Tony Romo are healthy and ready to go in what should be a much-improved campaign from Dallas this time around.
Though Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said there are things Bryant can do to put last year behind him and return to 2014 season form.
He doesn't think Bryant was in good enough shape last season.
"I think one of the tough things about last year for Dez, he plays with such energy, that with the contract dispute, if you will, he wasn't around, which is business, and consequently he probably wasn't in his best shape going into the season and then you start to add the injuries when players aren't in shape and they continued on through training camp and then on into the season and we ended up not having him much last year, so if he can get his rehab done and get himself in top condition, then I think we'll see the same Dez that we saw two years ago," Jones told the Dallas Morning News.
It was clear that Bryant wasn't in great shape to start. In Week 1, he was taken to the locker room for an IV due to dehydration. Which is not an unusual occurrence for NFL players, but it was noteworthy for Bryant given the offseason he had.
Last season, Bryant caught a career-low 31 passes for 401 yards and just three touchdowns in nine games. Prior to 2015, he had recorded three consecutive seasons with at least 88 catches and 1,233 yards with double-digit touchdowns in each.
Nonetheless, Jones and the entire organization are confident the 27-year-old will be much better this season.
"We feel great [about Bryant]," Jones continued. "I think he's really focused on being around and doing the work and that's important."