Through three weeks of the 2017 NFL season, Dez Bryant has been thrown to more often than all but nine players in the league. He's been the intended target on 27 of Dak Prescott's 107 pass attempts, giving him a healthy target share of 25.2 percent.
However, those targets have not resulted in the type of production we're used to from Dez. He entered this season with a catch rate of 59.5 percent and a yards per reception average of 14.3, but this season has caught only 11 of the 27 throws Prescott has sent his way and has totaled only 114 receiving yards, or 10.4 per catch. His saving grace has been two touchdown catches, one in each of the last two games.
Dez, though, is not concerned about his lagging numbers, per the Dallas Morning News.
"That's funny to me," Bryant said after the Cowboys' win over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night, referring to recent insinuations that his talent level has fallen off. "That don't bother me because I know who I am. Just because certain people don't see me get targets this game, it don't mean nothing. I feel like I got great film, I got great tape. That's what I care about. That was my whole focus, coming out and putting great film out, and I think I did that [Monday night]."
Dez was targeted only twice in the win over the Cardinals, as he was shadowed by Patrick Peterson for pretty much the entire evening. He did make the most of his two catches, with an incredible effort on a 15-yard touchdown catch that put the Cowboys ahead for good.
Bryant has faced arguably the toughest slate of opposing cornerbacks in the league through three weeks, as he battled with the Giants' Janoris Jenkins and the Broncos' Aqib Talib before going up against Peterson. That he's come away from those matchups with 11 grabs and two touchdowns is slightly impressive, and when you consider that he beat Jenkins for what should have been a sure touchdown in Week 1, only to see Prescott airmail the throw 10 feet over Dez's head, it becomes even more so.
Dez is the clear top option of the Dallas passing game, and it's obvious that opposing defenses will do whatever they can to take him out of the game. The Cowboys, unlike other teams, typically try not to force the ball to their top option when he's facing heavy coverage. With the Rams, Packers and 49ers coming up over the next few weeks, there may be a chance for him to break out statistically anyway.