Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has taken Mobile, Ala., by storm as he attends Senior Bowl practices. And he's apparently convinced himself that the Cowboys' cornerbacks aren't quite as bad as some of us made them out to be this past season. Yes, they helped allow a staggering 33 touchdown passes, but Jones seemed to indicate they may have been the victims of a flawed approach by Wade Phillips while discussing the situation with ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins and perhaps others Monday.
"They're probably, and I go down through all of them, they're a little better than probably the taste we have in our mouth," Jones said. "I’m not saying we hung them out, but I'll say that we sure ask a lot of them, relative to maybe what we might do in the future."
So does that make anyone feel better about Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman? Do you believe Jones is correct in suggesting that Phillips' scheme put the Cowboys' cornerbacks in a tough spot? I think it sounds like Jones is making excuses for players who stunk up the joint throughout most of the 2010 season. I'll leave Orlando Scandrick out of the mix because he actually played well at times. Newman and Jenkins both regressed and the Cowboys have to think about addressing the position via the draft or free agency. Jones and Jason Garrett shouldn't convince themselves that a new defensive coordinator will automatically send Jenkins and Newman back to the Pro Bowl.
If the Cowboys have a chance to take one of the top cornerbacks in the draft at No. 9 overall, they shouldn't think twice about pulling the trigger. I do think Rob Ryan will follow his brother's lead in encouraging Jones and Garrett to acquire as many talented cornerbacks and safeties as possible. For some reason, the Cowboys decided to enter the 2010 season with only three cornerbacks on the roster. It was a needless gamble that didn't take long to backfire on them.
"We accept some of the things that we were doing and asked our corners to do," Jones said Monday. "We probably ... when the dust settles, won’t be as hard on those corners as we might have been, or generally as fans might have been."
And that's a statement that should scare every Cowboys fan. No matter how much blame you place on a weak pass-rush, the secondary was awful this season. It sounds like Jones is trying to convince himself that all those touchdowns were a product of the system rather than the players. Perhaps Garrett will have to use some of that new power to convince the owner he's being too optimistic.
Or maybe Jones is simply trying to run a pre-draft misdirection play. No matter what, he needs to accept the realities of a 6-10 season. This man's in no position to embrace status quo at any position -- except for punter, of course.