IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) — It could have been a game-changing play — a play that ultimately flipped Sunday’s 24-21 win over the New York Giants.
With the Cowboys leading 21-13 in the fourth quarter, receiver Dez Bryant fumbled the ball while fighting for extra yards. The ball was deflected 20-yards backwards, leaving the Cowboys in a difficult third-and-3o situation.
It wasn’t the cold, or the defensive player, or anyone else that was responsible for the fumble. After the game, Bryant attributed the fumble to a lack of focus.
But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones attributes it to the running style of his star receiver.
“He’s violent when he’s got the ball,” said Jones on 105.3 The Fan’s New School. “He’s violent going after the ball. Consequently, he does need to have that ball in closer. He needs to fundamentally have it closer to his body.”
In 54 career games with Dallas, Bryant has fumbled the ball 12 times. Compare that to other elite receivers like Detroit’s Calvin Johnson (13 fumbles, 102 games) and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green (3 fumbles, 42 games), and you might conclude that Bryant has a serious problem.
Jones however understands that, while it’s unacceptable, you have to take the good with the bad when coaching Dez.
“You’d like to say, ‘hey just take the ball and go straight up the field rather than trying to take it across,'” said Jones. “Of course, about the time that comes out of your mouth, he goes lateral across that field and breaks it about 40 yards.”
So can Jason Garrett and the Cowboys’ coaching staff expect Dez to change his running style?
“A lot of this is a natural, physical way he plays football, and you’re not going to coach it out of him.”
‘Optimistic’ To Expect Lee To Play
Sean Lee missed Sunday’s games against the Giants as he continues to rehab his hamstring. Jones was asked on Tuesday if Lee would be ready for Thursday’s games against the Oakland Raiders.
“That’s probably optimistic,” said Jones. “He thinks he’s got a chance. Sean’s one of the most driven, optimistic players there’s ever been on the Dallas Cowboys.”
The other significant injury on the defensive side of the ball is a familiar one. Cornerback Morris Claiborne, who missed the team’s two previous games with a hamstring injury, left Sunday’s game after suffering another setback.
“We don’t think he reinjured, we think he just basically had a little bit of a setback, which isn’t abnormal,” said Jones. ” I don’t know if he’ll be ready.”
Dallas signed cornerback Sterling Moore on Monday to fill the void. Moore is expected to be active and play on Thursday.
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