High 5: Does Dez build on 2012 success?

The first in ESPNDallas.com's five-part series looking at factors that must go Dallas’ way in a big way for the Cowboys to be contenders this season.

Dez Bryant’s last eight games of 2012 were just an appetizer.

He’s not satisfied after blowing up for 879 yards and 10 touchdowns in the second half of the season, when the Cowboys averaged 28.3 points per game. That just got Bryant’s stomach growling. He’s determined to make sure that success is a springboard to bigger things.

Who knows how good Bryant can be? He’s always been a physical freak blessed with a jaw-dropping blend of explosiveness, strength and the ability to make all kinds of circus catches. He’s made tremendous strides with his maturation and the mental aspects of the game, putting himself in position to tap into that immense potential.

Bryant believes he’s capable of reaching 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in a season. The odds are definitely against that, but there’s no doubt he’s one of the most talented receivers in the league.

Actually, he’s one of the NFL’s most talented playmakers, period.

It’s certainly reasonable to believe that Bryant can put up the best statistical season by a receiver in Cowboys history. Would anybody be surprised if he lights it up for 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns?

Not that it’s all about the numbers for Bryant. His job is to consistently be a dominant force who forces defenses to focus on him and comes up with big plays in clutch situations.

The Cowboys need Bryant to play up to his potential from the beginning of the season. If that happens, this offense ought to score a lot of points.