- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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A few tweaks here and a couple of adjustments there, and the Dallas Cowboys' offense should be just fine, according to Jerry Jones.
That unit is averaging an underwhelming 278.4 yards per game in the five weeks since an explosive performance in the Cowboys' 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos. Dallas' offense bottomed out with 193 total yards in the loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, when the Cowboys were 0-of-9 on third-down conversions.
"The real way to look at it is, how far off the mark are we?" Jones said Friday on KRLD-FM. "We know that you can't have a game where you don't make third-down conversions. How far are we from being acceptable in that area, hopefully better than acceptable? I don't think we're far away.
"I think we're an adjustment here, an adjustment there, and I know firsthand that our quarterback, our offensive coordinator, our head coach, our entire offensive staff are looking, evaluating and making adjustments. And I think they're making the kind of adjustments that are called for -- not dramatic, but the kinds that can make a difference in a route, how we bunch them up, how we do things to have a lot more production and keep that defense off the field. It needs some help, to say the least."
How far off the mark are the Cowboys on third downs? Judging just by the numbers, quarterback Tony Romo and the Cowboys might as well be miles away.
The painful proof:
The Cowboys rank 30th in the NFL in third-down conversion rate (32.8 percent, 38-of-116).
Romo's third-down QBR (19.8) ranks 29th in the NFL.
Romo ranks 30th in the NFL in average yards per attempt on third downs (5.74).
Romo's third-down passer rating (57.6) ranks 32nd in the NFL.
Romo's third-down completion percentage (47.1) ranks 34th in the NFL.
That kind of production might call for some pretty dramatic adjustments.