Jerry Jones can relate to, but not sympathize with, what the Denver Broncos endured in Week 12, forced to start a practice-squad receiver at quarterback due to supposed COVID-19 protocol violations.
In a Tuesday radio interview, the Cowboys owner/general manager argued that Denver’s situation — literally zero available QBs — was no different than Dallas’ rock-bottom moment in Week 8 when they trotted out rookie Ben DiNucci for an injured Andy Dalton.
“I don’t know that Denver had any more challenge than we’ve had with (Ben) DiNucci or any of the young quarterbacks we’ve had,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan.
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In a season of pitfalls, DiNucci’s disastrous start against the rival Philadelphia Eagles ranks among the worst. He completed 21-of-40 passes for 180 scoreless yards (4.5 yards per attempt), taking four sacks and finishing with a minuscule 19.5 QBR amid a noncompetitive 23-9 loss. The performance drew sharp criticism from Jones, who picked apart the James Madison product before re-parking him on the bench.
“I think that it was a lot for him. I think we certainly, as a team, paid the price to have him come in and under those circumstances. And that’s almost trite. It was frankly more than he could handle,” he admitted last month.
That said, DiNucci may be a seventh-round draft pick, and not an overly great one (as of now), but he’s still a quarterback. A natural quarterback. Not a WR masquerading at quarterback.
DiNucci may have been given less-than-ideal prep time, but it still was more than the 24 hours’ notice that Denver’s Kendall Hinton received. The former had an entire week to absorb the game plan; the latter couldn’t get even a single practice in.
The situations aren’t at all comparable no matter how much face-saving or headline-stealing Jones insists upon.
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Jerry ‘Worried’ to Face Dez
The Cowboys’ czar is hoping to avoid a #RevengeGame for veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant when his club takes on the Baltimore Ravens next Tuesday night. Jones, of course, drafted now-32-year-old Bryant and knows first-hand the damage he’s capable of inflicting — whether as the good guy or the enemy.
“Dez has an eternal light of good if you love a competitor, or if you love somebody that his whole being is about getting to compete. He’s got his teammates’ best interests, (a) great teammate. Dez is an eternal light of positiveness for our game,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. “I couldn’t be happier to see him on the field. Now, I’m going to be a little worried because I do know how that rascal can go up there and get a ball.”
Out of football since 2018, following his Cowboys release and lengthy recovery from a torn Achilles tendon, Bryant was signed to the Ravens’ practice squad on Oct. 27. He was first promoted to the active roster on Nov. 7 and has since recorded four catches for 28 yards across 37 snaps for the Lamar Jackson-led offense.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL