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Troy Aikman Explains Why the Cowboys Did Nothing After Andy Dalton Nearly Got Decapitated

When Jerry Jones flew off the handle at some Dallas radio guys who had the audacity to question whether his team lacks leadership just because his offensive line did nothing while Andy Dalton was writhing in agony after a hit from Jon Bostic, I have to admit I wasn't buying his explanation. It seemed to me like the worst, lamest kind of excuse-making to blame their lack of experience  when protecting their quarterback is the first item on their job description. And when the O-line's reaction to seeing their quarterback on the ground, minutes away from having a CSI team draw a chalk outline around him, was to pull out their phones and started checking their messages, it was the pluperfect example of a lack of leadership. 

But not so fast. Yes, Jerruh is an aging, lizardy creep who is bad at articulating thoughts. But someone who can put coherent sentences together, and does if for a living in fact, said something similar. Only Troy Aikman expressed it better.

“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. ...

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.”

OK, that last sentence got away from Aikman. But I don't disagree with his underlying point. 

It might have been noble for, say, Terence Steele to heroically run up to Bostic and yell, "Your vulgar actions have vexed me, good sir!  And I shall have at you!" Or for Tyler Biadasz to see the hit as besmirching his honor and lay down his life to avenge Andy Dalton's memory. But that's not how the world works. It goes against human nature to expect people to fight for each other just because it's expected by other people. Throwing and taking punches on someone's behalf is something that has to be earned. It's a mutual thing. And understanding that the guy you're sticking up for would do the same for you if the roles were reversed. And that's a trust that can only be developed over time. 

And for sure, it's not an obligation that comes just with a paycheck. If you're on your first week on the job at the Auntie Anne's  counter at the mall and an unsatisfied customer starts beating your assistant manager  with the cold Jalapeno & Cheese Pretzel Dog he was just sold and you jump to your boss' defense, you're a fool. And deserve to have that bucket of Pepperoni Pretzel Nuggets dumped over your head. 

On the other hand, I've been working with Rear Admiral for probably 13 years. I've been to some really sketchy townie bars with him. The kinds of places that have back rooms where you check the floor for plastic tarps in case you're about to be in a mob hit. I trust that if shit went sideways and bottles started flying, we'd have each other's six. But if the next time I'm down at Barstool HQ and some new hire I just met is getting mugged outside the building, you can be sure I'm going full Cowboys offensive lineman and remaining a neutral country. 

The lesson here is, you choose your fights. And a rookie guard struggling to get his career going, doesn't throw down for Andy Dalton. He looks out for himself, period. Expecting otherwise goes against human nature.