Jones: With 12 fumbles in 40 starts, Dez must protect the ball better

Cowboys vs. Lions

Credit: Getty Images

Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys scores on a five-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo during the second quarter of the game against the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit on October 27, 2013. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)



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Posted on November 26, 2013 at 3:15 PM

DALLAS –– Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says the receiver Dez Bryant needs to do a better job of ball security.

"He's violent when he's got the ball and he's violent going after the ball," said Jones on his KRLD-FM radio show. "Consequently he does need to have that ball in closer he needs to fundamentally have it closer to his body, but I don't know how much of that we'll ever be able to coach out of him."

When compared with some of the top receivers in the NFL, Bryant's fumble numbers are significant, if not alarming. He's coughed it up 12 times in 40 starts.  Detroit's Calvin Johnson has fumbled 13 times in 96 starts. Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald has logged just six fumbles in 150 starts and Houston's Andre Johnson has seven fumbles in 148 starts.

Part of Bryant's issue is his mindset.

"I think that's the physical manifestation of the passion. He ain't going down," says Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.  "He seems to want to fight everybody and seems relentless in his nature not to go down and that's a great trait, but we have to keep channeling that trait."

Jones made a point of saying Bryant needed to see the ball more after he was targeted just twice in the Cowboys blowout loss to the Saints. Bryant had 16 targets Sunday, including a drop that led to an interception and a fumble that set up a third down-and-30.  

The silver lining: after all the adversity, Bryant was able to rebound mentally and come up with game-changing plays, most notably a 19 yard reception on a third down play on the Cowboys game-winning drive. Bryant had three of his nine catches on that drive.

"He came back and was huge on that final drive," said Garrett.