Cowboys acknowledge they’ve faced good quarterbacks, but still unhappy with defense

Posted Monday, Oct. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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If the Cowboys look back at their last six quarters on defense, they can see 68 points and 774 yards allowed.

But coach Jason Garrett does allow a consideration of the quarterbacks they have faced — Peyton Manning last week and Philip Rivers before that.

“We’ve faced two really good quarterbacks,” he said. “We get that, and they have good weapons. But we have to play better on defense. We have to get more stops. We can’t let them move the ball as consistent as they have. And certainly, we can’t give up the points we’ve given up the last couple of weeks.”

The Cowboys are giving up points and yards at an alarming pace. They are 22nd in the league with 27.2 points allowed per game, a pace that would equal the team record from 2010. They are 28th in yards, allowing 409.2 per game, which puts them on pace to allow the fifth-most in NFL history.

Garrett, asked if alarm bells are going off considering the Cowboys have allowed three 400-yard passers this season, said, “Well, I don’t know that we live in the world of alarm bells. We just try to address what the situation is. We were at those games; we recognize what happens; we know the teams we’re playing. You go back and you just try to correct them, and you try to evaluate what we’re doing as coaches, what we’re asking our players to do, and how they’re doing it, and if we’re asking the right guys to do what they’re capable of doing.”

Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher took no solace in knowing the Broncos haven’t been slowed down by any team.

“Nope. We’re like everybody else,” he said. “We got a sense of pride in this group. Guys are down right now. I know I’m hurting because I’m part of this defense. One thing we’ve got to do, we’ve got to clean it up.”

Romo decision

Jason Garrett said Tony Romo’s best decision would have been to throw to DeMarco Murray, instead of trying to go to tight end Gavin Escobar, on the interception that set up Denver’s winning field goal.

“He probably should have come down and thrown the ball to the back,” Garrett said. “It’s a play that we know. We’ve seen him make throws like that, in between defenders in the zone, a lot. He made a few of them in this ballgame.”

Garrett said there was pressure in the pocket on Romo, but that he should have looked for his dump-off.

“When you felt that little bit of pressure on your left-hand side, kind of slide in the pocket, find DeMarco Murray,” Garrett said. “Tried to stick one in there, and they made a good play. He certainly would like to have that decision back, but you’ve got to move forward. You’ve got to learn from it.”

Ratliff update

Jay Ratliff continues to rehab at Valley Ranch and another location, with the Cowboys’ permission, Jason Garrett said.

Ratliff has blamed some of his slow rehab on the Cowboys’ prescribed course of treatment.

“We’ll see. We’ll see,” Garrett said, asked if Ratliff will be ready to practice when he is eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list after the Philadelphia game. “The first time he’s eligible is next week, so we feel like he’s making progress, and we’ll just see how he does as he gets closer to doing some more football type movements.”

Ratliff had hernia surgery last year and a hamstring injury in training camp.

Carter better

Jason Garrett said linebacker Bruce Carter did a better job this week than last week, when he was pulled in the second half. Carter got 39 snaps in splitting time with Ernie Sims, who got 46.

“Ernie was very active in the game and made some plays, really rallied to the ball and knocked the first fumble out,” Garrett said. “I thought Bruce, for the most part, did a good job, was more active than he had been the previous week running to the football. Made some plays.”

Bryant optimistic

The performance of the offense encouraged receiver Dez Bryant.

“I feel damned good about the way we played,” he said. “I just feel like if we keep doing that, we can stack some wins up.”

Bryant, who caught six passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns, said the game is something to build on.

“I think what we take from it is how explosive we played, the mindset that we had – to go out there and try to score on every possession,” he said. “I think we did a great job of that. It ain’t like we played some mediocre team. We just have to build on the success and learn from those mistakes that we made.”

Hatcher stinger

Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said he had a stinger in Sunday’s game and missed a series. He said he felt the stinger in his arm but came back to the game.

“It’s nothing I’m too worried about,” he said.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

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