Aikman says Bryant should be benched

It’s fair to speculate that if Troy Aikman was the coach of the Cowboys then Dez Bryant would not be getting as much playing time as he is receiving from Jason Garrett.

The Hall of Fame quarterback and Fox analyst was calling the Cowboys’ 29-24 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday and had this to say after Bryant muffed a punt return, recovered and fumbled again.

“I don’t know of any player in this league that can do the things that he has done to hurt his football team and stay in the game,” Aikman said, according to the New School show on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM].

When that quote was read to Jerry Jones during his Tuesday radio appearance on The Fan, the Cowboys owner and general manager responded that he understands how a player like Aikman could make that statement.

“No one that I’ve been associated with appreciates protecting the ball or practiced or played the game to protect the ball more than Troy Aikman,” Jones said. “So I can clearly understand his comment. And Troy, one of the reasons we won, one of the reasons we had the great success is he was able to play the quarterback position, which handles the ball more than anybody, at an amazing positive turnover rate for his team, and yet still have the ability to go out there and throw the ball and make a play. That’s why we had that success. I understand his comment.”

When asked specifically about Bryant’s first quarter fumble, Jones said “turnovers in the kicking game are even more hurtful than turnovers in the regular part of the game.”

However, he never said if Bryant should be replaced as the team’s punt returner.

Following Bryant’s fumble, Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris took over punt return duties until the final punt of the game. With under a minute to go and the Cowboys needing a touchdown, Bryant was back deep. But he never made a play on the Steve Weatherford punt that went out at the Cowboys’ 30-yard-line.