Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has been many things this season, including the Cowboys' leading receiver and preseason MVP of the NFL by Michael Irvin. But one of his greatest titles this season came from himself: the No. 1 receiver in the league.
According to ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon, Bryant told 103.3 FM ESPN in Dallas earlier this week that he could do anything that the Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson, who is widely considered the best receiver in the NFL, can do:
I believe I can do whatever he can do. I think it's just a pride thing. When it comes to football, just being on the field, it's a mindset and having a mentality. I honestly believe when I'm there, I'll be feeling like there's nothing I can't do. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I'm going to do it.
I always feel like there's more. I think that's just a mindset you're supposed to have.
Bryant then took to twitter to somewhat attempt to recant his previous comments:
Through three seasons, Bryant is actually ahead of where Johnson was after his first three years in touchdowns, 27 to 21, and yards per target, 9.17 to 8.04, according to Jonathan Bales via the Dallas Morning News. Bryant also increased his touchdown total each season during that span while Johnson had just five touchdowns in his third year—seven less than his sophomore season.
Then there's this season. Both Bryant and Johnson have six touchdowns and are averaging 10 and 10.2 targets per game, respectively, with Bryant hauling in six receptions per game compared to 5.5 by Johnson. Bryant also leads in receiving yards with 569 to 492, but Johnson leads in yards per game with 82 to 81.3 because he missed a start due to injury.
While by no means am I stating that Bryant has taken over as the league's best receiver—Johnson did just break the single-season receiving yards record last season—the day might not be far off when he overtakes Megatron, the same way the Lions receiver took the title from Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson just a few years ago.
Bryant will certainly have a lot to prove this upcoming Sunday in Week 8. His team travels to Detroit to take on Lions, and Johnson is likely to have a field day against the Cowboys' 30th-ranked pass defense.
Megatron has earned the title of the league's best receiver, but Bryant might be on his curtails.