Cowboys VP Stephen Jones Frustrated with Claiborne
Stephen Jones stepped out of the bland world of politically correct and non-revealing football quotes on Friday and made a public statement regarding the toughness, or lack thereof, of Morris Claiborne, the Cowboys' 2012 first round draft choice:
Our young guys got to get healthy," Jones told the Elf & Slater Show on 105.3 [KRLD-FM]. "There's no excuse. All of them."
Jones then mentioned rookie safety Matt Johnson and rookie defensive end Tyrone Crawford before saying, "Mo Claiborne's got to get out there. The times he's been out there, it's been impressive. But he certainly can't make the club in the tub, if you will. He's got to get out there. It's time. We got to start having a mentality that we're going to play through things."
Jones added: "You don't ever see Jason Witten missing practice, and he's going on 10 [seasons]. He just won't miss. So, we got to have the young guys step up and play better."
There was no mincing of words with Jones the Lesser. He was blunt and straightforward. He appeared to have said exactly what he meant and meant exactly what he said.
Stephen Jones didn't "rip" Claiborne
Of course, when the media took the words at face value and began to discuss and debate them at length, Jones became indignant, declared he was misunderstood and distanced himself from his own direct quote:
“I didn’t rip Mo,” Jones said. “It’s wrong. There’s no frustration at all. I have zero worries about Mo Claiborne. How that gets out there is beyond me.”
I suspect most fans would applaud Stephen Jones calling out the rookie. I also suspect the NFLPA would not take kindly to the suggestion from a team's management that one of their members risks his health by practicing or playing when less than fully healthy.
Hence, the damage control.
But Jones seeming incredulous about "how that gets out there" is just insane. It is the first indication I have had that he may be no more prepared for holding press conferences and/or answering media questions than his daddy.
Which is sad. And scary.
Here's the acorn, right by the tree, which is where you might expect it to fall.