Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys owner has not forgotten past failed quarterback projects

Jerry Jones says this is no rebuild. The return of Tony Romo will make the Dallas Cowboys contenders again next season.

The Cowboys aren’t naive enough to think they didn’t have problems last season beyond the loss of quarterback Romo and Dez Bryant to injuries.

Other breakdowns and deficiencies played a role in their 4-12 record and last place finish in the NFC East.

The Cowboys owner believes the return of Romo and Bryant along some defensive improvements can revive the championship hopes next season.

“I have every reason to believe that those guys will and should plan on them coming back healthy,” Jones said. “And with that, we have this defense to where given some winning, rather than losing, like we did last year, that we can evolve into the team I thought we had last year.”

The Cowboys have the fourth overall pick in the April NFL Draft and are thinking about taking a quarterback for the future.

That is more about happenstance and circumstance than the current state of the organization.

“I do feel good. Absolutely,” Jones said. “This is not a rebuild.

“I just call it just using, if we went that way, the circumstance that having surprisingly gotten up here with that pick that maybe it’s the smart thing to do down the road.”

Doing the smart thing down the road at quarterback has everything to do with what Jones experienced during those lean quarterback years between Hall of Famer Troy Aikman’s retirement in 2000 and Romo’s emergence in 2006.

The Cowboys went through the failed quarterback projects of Quincy Carter, Anthony Wright, Clint Stoerner, Chad Hutchinson, Ryan Leaf, Drew Henson, Vinny Testaverde, and Drew Bledsoe.

Jones knows he might not have this chance again to target a quarterback of the future with a top pick — at least he hopes that’s the case.

“I don’t want to be back [at the top of the draft again],” Jones said. “I know when you’re drafting in the middle or drafting below that 20, it’s a real challenge to retool the quarterback. I’ve been there and made an F.”

Clarence Hill: 817-390-7760, @clarencehilljr

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