Opportunity for receivers is a statistic commonly known as targets. Targets indicate how many times a ball is thrown in the general direction of a receiver. The negative aspect of using targets is when you want to try to correlate the number of targets with how many receptions a receiver obtains. A ball thrown over a receiver’s head or at his feet is considered a target.
As stated earlier, Bryant sure gets a lot of those types of targets.
Targets are useful, however, when you want to illustrate how often a receiver has a chance to make a play. Simply put, the number of times Bryant is given that opportunity is pathetic.
Over the past three years, here is how Bryant’s targets stack up to some of his peers:
Antonio Brown, PIT – 461
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU – 458
Julio Jones, ATL – 418
Mike Evans, TB – 405
Odell Beckham, Jr., NYG – 368
Jordy Nelson, GB – 362
T.Y. Hilton, IND – 358
A.J. Green, CIN – 315
Dez Bryant, DAL – 270
Since the 2015 season, Bryant has 191 less targets than Brown and 45 less than the next lowest guy above him. Also of note, while Bryant has played in the least amount of games (33) of this group, he has played in just four less than Green and two less than Beckham, Jr.
Not only does Bryant have the least amount of total targets, his 8.2 per game is also the lowest of the group. It’s hard to produce when you don’t have an opportunity to do so.
For anyone who questions whether or not he still “has it,” look no further than this play from Week 3.
This play encapsulates all that Dez Bryant can do when given an opportunity. Don’t believe the hype when you hear that Bryant has lost it. It’s not opposing cornerbacks that are holding Dez down, it’s his own coaching staff and quarterback.