- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones spoke to the team's season-ticket holders and sponsors via a conference call Wednesday.
Jones spoke for an hour and according to the voice of the Cowboys Brad Sham, there were nearly 1,000 questions though he didn't answer all of them.
Here's some highlights:
On Valley Ranch being a country club atmosphere: "I don’t think that we do have a country club atmosphere around here. There’s too much competition. These players recognize how fortunate they are to be in the NFL, to have these opportunities. We’ve got as good or better leadership than my experience in 24 years with the Cowboys has seen."
On the safety position, whish has veteran Will Allen and young players in Matt Johnson, Barry Church, Danny McCray and draft pick J.J. Wilcox: "I think we’re in good shape at safety." Jones later added, "I don’t know when I’ve ever seen a player impress our staff without having played in a ballgame any more than Matt Johnson." Jones was asked about naming starters and didn't, instead praising each player.
Defensive end Anthony Spencer is signed for this season at $10.6 million, but he's been franchised the last two seasons. There is some concern if the Cowboys will lock Spencer up long-term: "We'd like to have him under a long-term agreement. He knows that."
On Tim Tebow, who was released by the New York Jets and why the Cowboys don't want a third-string quarterback: "We really feel good about Kyle Orton and that's where it all starts and stops right there. He will be used differently to some degree than we use (Tony) Romo, but he's capable of winning big games and we know how important that backup slot is, especially if it's temporary if you don't have Romo. We're pretty set at quarterback there. We wish Tim all the luck and the best in the world."
On the defense: "The defense should be the strength of our team arguably, the defensive line can be the strength of the team." Later Jones said, "Our defense will fit Monte Kiffin's scheme. It actually will be a simpler defense for this group to get. The adjustment from where we were in the 3-4 to the 4-3 will not be as significant as it might appear."
On the health of Jay Ratliff: We don't think Jay Ratliff is injury prone. He had possibly three different injuries last year. He is further down the road in his career than he was a few years ago. But we think of all that he's very sound physically and we think he'll flourish in this defensive scheme. He's a natural three technique."
On the draft board: Jones said the Cowboys had center Travis Frederick ranked ahead of LSU safety Eric Reid. The Cowboys moved down in the NFL draft, switching from No. 18 to No. 31 after a trade with the San Francisco 49ers. Frederick was projected as a second-day pick and said he was surprised the Cowboys grabbed him in the first round. Jones also indicated there were two to three safeties ranked ahead of Wilcox on the draft board. Wilcox was a third-round pick.
Jones on losing to the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium (The Cowboys open the 2013 season at Cowboys Stadium against the New York Giants. The Cowboys are 0-4 against the Giants at home): "It is a pain."