Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Jerry: Arrow going up for defense
By Tim MacMahon
IRVING, Texas -- Jerry Jones defers when asked where this Dallas Cowboys defense ranks among those he's seen in his two decades as the team's owner and general manager.
There's too much of the story still to be written with this group. And the competition is awfully stiff, led by the 1992 unit that led the NFL in total defense and allowed fewer points than these Cowboys.
But Jerry doesn't mind telling you that this defense -- a unit that has allowed only 31 points during a four-game winning streak that featured the first back-to-back shutouts in franchise history -- has the potential to be great for a long time.
The defense's two Pro Bowlers, OLB DeMarcus Ware and NT Jay Ratliff, are in their prime and locked up to long-term contracts. CB Terence Newman and LB Keith Brooking are the only defensive contributors past 30.
Recent first-round picks OLB Anthony Spencer and CB Mike Jenkins performed like Pro Bowlers in the latter half of the season and should continue improving. CB Orlando Scandrick, FS Alan Ball and DE Stephen Bowen are other young players just scratching the surface of their potential.
"The good news is, frankly, we’ve got people that are on the field that are playing that are getting better," Jones said. "That arrow is up over there on defense."