This was the Year of Dez, the coronation of the next great No. 88 in Cowboys lore. Virtually overnight, he went from disappointing, tantalizing talent to admired, proven star.
One moment he was fumbling punts, dropping passes, running the wrong routes and jawing with opposing cornerbacks seemingly after each and every reception. The majority of the fans were frustrated that the third season of Dez looked much like the first two. What they didnít understand, though, was that Stage 3 Dez was just about a finished product. And, thereís likely a Stage 4 Dez ahead as well, a nightmarish thought for opposing defensive coordinators and corners alike, but more on that later. For now, letís backtrack through the earlier stages of Dez:
Stage 1 Ė Few players have entered the league with the natural athletic strength and ability of Dez. As in ever. To his credit, he has been completely forthcoming in multiple interviews, admitting his thought process upon entering the league was of, more or less, show up and make plays because thatís what he did at every level from Pop Warner through Oklahoma State.
And rookie Dez wasnít bad, 561 receiving yards in 12 games with eight touchdowns, including two on punt returns. He was just out there on instinct, raw talent. He wasnít overly familiar with the playbook or his routes, and film study and media interviews were for the most part optional, at least on his end.
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