Speaking Tuesday on 96.7 The Ticket in Dallas, Troy Aikman came to the defense of the Cowboys offensive linemen who were criticized by the media for not standing up for their quarterback Andy Dalton after Washington Football Team linebacker Jon Bostic laid a nasty hit on him.
These linemen, Aikman notes, are a string of raw backups. Because of injuries, the Cowboys have had to field a makeshift O-line that probably became overwhelmed in the moment when Bostic lit up their quarterback.
“I’ve played with guys who would have definitely reacted, have reacted in situations like that, but those were my guys. They were there with me through thick and through thin and through the lean years and the great years. There was a lot of continuity.
“I think that if this offensive line was the group that we are accustomed to seeing over the years with Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith and Zack Martin, that reaction would have been a lot different. It definitely would have been different as well had it been Dak Prescott. So you go back to how much do these guys truly interact and gotten to know each other? To me, that’s what I kind of got from it. And the reality that these linemen that were playing, they are all pretty young guys. They’re young, green guys trying to figure it out for themselves.
This hit on Andy Dalton was gruesome. Really hope he is okay. pic.twitter.com/XmkXddAlYI
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) October 25, 2020
“The way that Dalton reacted after getting hit, my reaction on my couch was, ‘I hope he’s OK.’ He just seemed like he was really, really injured, beyond a concussion. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I hope Andy’s OK.’ And I felt like that’s how the players reacted. So I think that had Mike McCarthy answered that question differently at the postgame press conference, I don’t think the national media would have jumped on that.
“What I know happens in our league is somebody makes a big deal about something and then every postgame show sees that and then they jump on it and they react to it. I think it was an overreaction to not much. I don’t question these offensive linemen and whether they want to protect their quarterback or do they have his back and all that.
“I think you got to put it into context just who these guys were, and they’re fighting for their own lives. I think they were more concerned with his well being as opposed to retaliate.”
The Cowboys will have Martin back on Sunday against the Eagles, but Andy Dalton may be out after the Bostic hit. They may have to start third-string quarterback Ben DiNucci, a 2020 7th round pick out of James Madison.