IRVING, Texas – Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones obviously has a lot on his plate these days with the season just two weeks in the books, holes to fill on the coaching staff and the Senior Bowl less than a week away.
So when stopped in the hallway this week at Valley Ranch, Jones had little time to discuss such pressing matters, but did respond to a question regarding his comments last week on *Cowboys Special Edition, *which were taped the day before defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was dismissed.
Jones' comments were later reported to suggest he used the Seattle and Chicago games as a basis to let Ryan go after just two seasons.
"When you look at the context of my answer to that question, you'll see that I never got into specifics about one side of the ball or the other in that response," said Jones. "I was talking about our team's performance as a whole in those games, where we pretty much had our full complement of starters on both sides of the ball."
The Cowboys spotted Seattle 10 points back in Week 2, thanks to a fumble on the opening kickoff that resulted in a field goal and then a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. The Seahawks used the early lead to cruise to a 27-7 win. Two weeks later against the Bears, the Cowboys turned the ball over six times, including five interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns in a 34-18 loss.
While injuries to key defensive players started as early as Week 3 against Tampa Bay, when Barry Church (torn Achilles) was lost for the year, they continued to pile up throughout the season. By the end of the schedule, seven defensive starters or key reserves were either on IR or not playing.
Here is the full question and answer regarding offseason decisions based off of injuries, from an interview including host Mickey Spagnola and Jones, which aired on *Special Edition *Saturday night on CBS-11 in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Do you have to be careful not factoring in when you're thinking about whatever you've got to do in the offseason, the fact that you had so many injuries especially defensively, to maybe cloud your thinking or maybe pacify you that said, 'Well, if we wouldn't have had all those injuries…'"
*"I didn't like the way we were playing in a lot of cases or thought we could play better before the injuries. And so I factor that in. It wasn't like that we had a lot of injuries out here when we played Chicago. It wasn't like that we had a lot of injuries when we played Seattle. I didn't like the way we played there. So it's not hard for me to go to those games and say, 'What can we do to improve when we played in Seattle and played Chicago?' *
*"Now, I like the way we played in some subsequent games. And I know that we didn't have the talent level on the field that we had when we played Seattle and Chicago. But it's not hard for me to go back there and say, 'OK, we had all of our players out there. We had our talent level there that we'd been saying that we didn't have.' Now, let's evaluate that when we had all of our talent level there. *
"We've got to be able to beat Chicago at home. We've got to be able to go to Seattle and win that game there. We know they're formidable. We know Seattle had a good football team, and I don't think we underestimated Seattle at all when we played them. But you're going to have to – to get to where we want to go – you're going to have to go into Seattle and win games in Seattle."
Of the six games the Cowboys played this season against playoff teams, they went just 1-5, with the lone win occurring in Cincinnati, where they rallied for 10 points to get an emotional 20-19 victory.
Five of the six games were played on the road, with the only home game against Washington, in a 38-31 Thanksgiving defeat. The Cowboys also lost to Baltimore, Atlanta, Seattle and the Redskins again in the season finale.