We didn't touch on this Monday, so it bears mentioning that right after the Cowboys' majestic choke job in the Meadowlands, Jerry Jones quickly voiced his displeasure to ESPN over Dez Bryant returning punts, a move that led to Bryant bruising his quad early in the game.
"I'm just saying he's getting hurt on returns," Jones told ESPN.com. "He got knocked out last year and got limited in this game on a punt return."
Bryant's season ended last year when he busted his ankle on a kickoff return, so the talented wideout has been a bit snakebit when it comes to special teams play. But there's no denying that Bryant has an impact in the return game. He housed two returns last season, and he certainly isn't the only star wideout to do extra duty returning kicks (Percy Harvin and DeSean Jackson also do lots of damage from back there). It's a tricky balance for any NFL coach because you want to put the best man in the role, but then you look like a dope whenever a starter gets hurt doing it.
The most alarming thing about this whole situation isn't the fact that Bryant got hurt on the return. It's that we're only one week into the season and the Double J is already publicly undermining his own coach. Look at what Bryant said in response to Jones' statements:
"Hey, it's whatever Mr. Jones wants. If he don't want me doing it, it'd be sad. I would love to continue doing it, but hey, he makes the calls."
HE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO MAKE CALLS BECAUSE HE'S NOT THE COACH GRRRRR.
If you'd like to know why this team crumbled into an undisciplined mess late on Sunday night, you can point right to this as Exhibit A. Despite having a new coach and a new defensive coordinator and a new attitude and all that sunshiney crap, there is still a fundamental flaw in how the Cowboys do business, because Jones is still acting as the figurehead and players like Bryant are bypassing the authority of their coaches and acting directly on orders from the owner, WHO NEEDS TO SHUT UP EVEN WHEN HE HAS A MILD POINT AND NEEDS STOP DISRUPTING EVERYTHING.
You don't need me to tell you Jones has been pulling this kind of thing for too long. But you can see it how it seeps into every facet of the team. Think Tony Romo cares too much about enjoying his stardom than being a good QB? That's directly from Jones' influence. Think Bryant is given too much freedom to run his mouth? Jones. As long as Jones sees fit to run the team while not running it, there will always be a disconnect in the team's structure that manifests itself on the field. And that sad thing is, it's never gonna change. It'll be like this until Jones is too old or infirm to be a meddler. For many Dallas fans, that feels like a long long time from now,
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