Tony Romo recently ended a public speech by declaring the Dallas Cowboys would win a Super Bowl this season. Jerry Jones, known for talking big and making similar predictions in the past, didn’t follow his quarterback’s lead as the keynote speaker at a luncheon for The Salvation Army on Wednesday at AT&T Stadium.
“That’s a statement that’s real hard to live up to and no one knows it better than we do,” the Cowboys owner said. “But I understand completely what he’s saying. He’s got a lot of confidence. He feels good about our defense. No one in our organization was hollering defense more than Tony.”
The Cowboys have addressed defense as best they could this off-season. They re-signed linebacker Rolando McClain, who resurrected his career last season, and signed controversial defensive end Greg Hardy, who has since been suspended 10 games for his involvement in a domestic violence incident last year.
In the NFL Draft last weekend, the Cowboys used five of their eight selections on defense, including their first two. They were giddy when Connecticut defensive back Byron Jones fell to them in the first round (27th overall), and again when Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory slid to them in the second round (60th overall).
Later in the draft, they added another pass rusher in Purdue’s Ryan Russell (fifth round) and bolstered their linebacker depth with Minnesota’s Damien Wilson (fourth round) and Wyoming’s Mark Nzeocha (seventh round).
Jones remained just as pleased with the draft a few days after the additions had sunk in. He particularly liked the additions of Gregory and Russell, as the pass rush was a glaring need for the Cowboys.
The team had 28 sacks last season, and failed to get much pressure on a hobbled Aaron Rodgers in the playoff loss at Green Bay.
“You know what we all think of [defensive coordinator] Rod Marinelli and his ability to scheme and work his defense,” Jones said. “One thing you can’t dial up very effectively, very many times is that pressure. You do that with personnel.”
Asked if the Cowboys, by addressing their No. 1 need, had done enough to take the next step, Jones replied: “Certainly, we’ve done enough to make a big difference on our pressure.”
Jerry Jones heard the news that the NFL’s investigation found that it was “more probable than not” that employees of the New England Patriots deflated footballs used in the AFC Championship and that quarterback Tom Brady was “at least generally aware” of it.
But Jones wasn’t ready to comment on the situation, particularly in terms of what punishment, if any, should be handed down from the commissioner's office.
“I know this, whatever we hear from the league will be what it is because they’ve done that kind of in-depth investigation on it,” Jones said. “They’re dealing with that kind of candor with everybody involved.”
The Cowboys host the Patriots on Oct. 11.
Jones on whether re-working cornerback Brandon Carr’s contract has been discussed with Carr yet: “I’m not going to get into that with what we’re doing on his contract.”
▪ Jones on AT&T Stadium possibly hosting the ACMs again: “We are so proud of the way that evolved and the way that came off that we certainly want an opportunity to look at it and maybe do it again. … No, it’s not on the calendar, but I can get it on there real quick.”
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760
▪ Rookie minicamp: Friday through Sunday
▪ Organized team activities: May 26-28, June 2-4, June 8-10
▪ Mandatory minicamp: June 16-18.