LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

IRVING -- Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has made some great catches.

One of his most spectacular catches was against the Giants in Arlington last year -- and technically, wasn't a catch.

Replays showed that his hand touched the turf first and was actually out of bounds in the back of the end zone. But it's those kinds of plays that have the Cowboys excited about his potential.

'You know, Dez has done a great job of refining his route running and understanding the intricate things that can help set up routes that help you get in and out of your break, and the things that help you take the next step,' said Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

Bryant became a 1,000-yard receiver in his third season last year, by gaining 879 yards on 50 receptions in the final eight games.

By comparison, former Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin didn't reach 1,000 in a season until his fourth year, while former 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice - the leagues all-time receiving record holder - took only two seasons.

Bryant certainly raised the bar with his performance in the second half of the season last year and it's because of his performance in those final eight games that hall of fame wide receiver Michael Irvin made a bold prediction on the NFL Network.

'We've sat on this desk and been wowed by the physical talent of Dez Bryant, but watching Dez Bryant now and the way he's understanding the game, that's why I'm expecting to hear these words at the conclusion of this season: 'MVP 2013 will be Dez Bryant,'' Irvin said.

'I don't really buy into all that, I just go out there and just do what I love to do,' Bryant said. 'That's just playing football. Whatever comes, it comes.'

A league MVP award would be a first for a wide receiver, and Bryant knows it.

Who would he have to be to be an MVP of the league?

'A quarterback,' Bryant said.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

Read or Share this story: http://www.wfaa.com/story/sports/nfl/cowboys/2014/08/19/14093784/