Cowboys owner has defensive coordinator’s back

Posted Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Monte Kiffin doesn’t have many supporters in his corner right now, but Jerry Jones has his defensive coordinator’s back.

Less than two weeks after seeming to have second thoughts about firing Rob Ryan, the Cowboys owner threw his support behind Kiffin. Jones said he was not disappointed in Kiffin, whom Jones had called an “ideal fit” when he was hired in the off-season.

“No, I’m not at all,” Jones said. “I understand his situation, and I like and have liked for years where he’s trying to go with this defense. If we were going to have somebody take where we are with our personnel, for better or for worse, where we are in the bye week, what adjustments we needed to make, getting these guys that are coming back healthy, there’s nobody in coaching I’d rather have managing that than Monte Kiffin on defense. Nobody.”

The Cowboys have allowed 4,398 yards, putting them on pace to allow 7,037 for the season. The NFL record is the 7,042 the Saints allowed in 2012.

Dallas has allowed 3,130 passing yards, putting it on pace for 5,008. The NFL record is the 4,796 passing yards the Packers allowed in 2011.

“It’s definitely not easy to forget,” Cowboys safety Barry Church said. “I mean, those numbers are just ridiculous. But you’ve also got to take into consideration we are second in the league in taking the ball away from teams. You got to take pros and the cons, but we’ve definitely got to bring that number down. That number’s ridiculous.”

The Cowboys are tied for fourth in takeaways with 22, six of which came in the season opener against the New York Giants, and they are tied for second in turnover margin at plus-11.

Jones wants more

Since the Cowboys gained 522 yards against the Denver Broncos in Week 5, including a career-best 506 passing yards by Tony Romo, they have sputtered. The Cowboys are averaging only 278.4 yards per game their past five games.

“I’d like to see us play like we did against Denver,” Jones said. “I’d like to see us play like we played frankly against St. Louis. Those good games where we had good offensive games. I’d like to see that kind of offensive continuity. We need to get some drives going. We need to keep that defense off the field, all of that. That’s what I’d like to see.”

Romo’s numbers are down, too, and Jones said the Cowboys need more out of their quarterback, who signed a $108 million extension in the off-season.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes, and [more] than we had against New Orleans. But yes we do.”

In the past five games, Romo has completed 57.1 passes for an average of 231.6 yards per game with eight touchdowns and four interceptions.

Cowboys sign Lemon

Rookie linebacker DeVonte Holloman experienced soreness after Wednesday’s practice, his first padded practice since Oct. 16. He was absent from practice Thursday, joining fellow linebackers Sean Lee (hamstring) and Justin Durant (hamstring).

Holloman played in the first six games, making four tackles, before a spinal contusion in the Oct. 20 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kyle Wilber, whom the Cowboys moved from defensive end to linebacker last week, worked on the strong side with the first team in the base package Thursday. The Cowboys signed Orie Lemon off the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad for depth.

The Cowboys released cornerback Micah Pellerin late in the day to make room for Lemon, who spent his rookie season of 2011 and part of last season on Dallas’ practice squad before he earned a spot on the 53-player roster. Lemon played in five games with the Cowboys last season.

Charean Williams 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

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