IRVING, Texas – Owner/general manager Jerry Jones talked at the first day of minicamp Tuesday and touched on a variety of subjects, from Kyle Orton's absence to the future of Josh Brent.
Here are some of the highlights from that interview:
- There had been speculation Orton wouldn't show up to minicamp, and he was indeed a no-show Tuesday afternoon. Jones wouldn't say he's disappointed, adding that he's "not anything."
"We're aware that he wasn't going to be here," Jones said. "We're just handling all of our business with him, just the way the agreement's called for. This is mandatory for him to be here and the consequences have been pre-negotiated when we did our contract."
Jones said the Cowboys will let that situation play out, but he didn't want to go into further detail because he hadn't directly visited with him. Instead, Jones' focus is on seeing which quarterbacks can step up.
"It has really given us an opportunity, which we really needed to do, and that is evaluate young quarterbacks and quarterbacks that could fit into the picture for several years to come. So I think that's going to give us a chance to do that."
- Speaking of quarterbacks, Jones said Romo's physically at the place the Cowboys had hoped for at this point in his rehab. He expects Romo to be "full-go" by training camp and do everything that's expected of him.
- Regarding Brent, Jones said the key focus for the Cowboys is on getting him through his rehabilitation after getting out of jail. He didn't rule out a return for the defensive tackle, but he didn't say that getting him on the football field is the primary focus right now.
"That's a positive relative to his business with the league, as well as his business with the overall judicial system," Jones said. "He needs to continue working through that. His business with the league in reinstatement is just that, it's with the league. It's not with us, but we do want to support him, but it'd be real way ahead of ourselves to talk about when, if and how he rejoins the Cowboys."
- Jones expressed disappointment in losing Sean Lee and wouldn't say he's confident the team has what it needs to replace their middle linebacker – but that thought might change as minicamp and training camp get going. He said he wouldn't count on having Lee by year's end, but he's also not counting that possibility out.
It's still possible the Cowboys add a free agent later on if no one from the current group takes hold of the position, but Jones hopes that's not necessary. [embedded_ad]
"There is a good chance that we'll be able to stay within the personnel that we've got, but I don't want to preclude anything, because a lot of the evaluation of where we are there is going on right now as well as when we get to training camp," Jones said.
- Dez Bryant's contract status has been a hot offseason topic, but Jones said there's no timetable for getting that done, and he wouldn't get into details regarding whether negotiations have started for a new deal. He did say Bryant's in better shape now than he was the past several years and he's advanced in his route-running and awareness, and he needs to continue working on his conditioning.
- The Cowboys lost DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher and now without Lee have a lack of proven defenders. So what gives Jones confidence this group can be better?
"Because we were so bad last year, there's no place but up," Jones said. Jones went on to say he thinks this team is better on paper right now than at the end of last season. "Not on paper at the beginning of the season last year, but on paper right now relative to how we ended up last year."