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November 11, 2013

Stephen Jones says Cowboys' improvement tied to defensive health and balance on offense

Executive vice president Stephen Jones is putting his hopes for the Cowboys’ improvement in getting healthier and getting more balanced on offense to take pressure off Tony Romo.

“We’ve got to find the right balance,” Jones said Monday in a radio appearance on KRLD 105.3 FM “The Fan” as he talked about the Cowboys’ 49-17 loss at New Orleans. “We started off there running the ball good. Obviously, they’re picking their poison there. I think they’re thinking that the best thing they can do is put pressure on Tony, so we have to continue to figure out ways we can do better.”

Jones said the offense will have a better chance at improvement once the defense gets healthier. The Cowboys played without defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, cornerback Morris Claiborne and safety J.J. Wilcox. They lost linebackers Sean Lee and Justin Durant to hamstrings during the game.

Since training camp, they have lost defensive ends Anthony Spencer and Ben Bass and defensive tackles Tyrone Crawford and Jay Ratliff, who was released. None of those players will return this year.

“Starts with our health. We got to get healthy,” Jones said. “Then I think a lot of things can get better. I mean, obviously, the type of defense we’re playing right now puts a lot of pressure on the offense, and that probably to some degree gets you out of what you’re trying to do from an offensive standpoint, when you feel like you’ve got to score every time you touch the ball. I do think that’ll change.

“No excuses, but we were missing quite a few people in terms of our defense. I think if we can get everybody back healthy and playing solid, then I think things are going to get a lot better quickly.”

Jones said on offense, the Cowboys are relatively healthy, which makes it more frustrating.

“Other than the loss of Waters, we’ve got a pretty healthy group over there,” he said. “We have to get better. We have to get back to being more balanced and being solid.

Obviously, we didn’t help the situation on defense with our third-down efficiency and some of the things there that we struggled with. Like I said, you’ve got to give the Saints a lot of credit. They’re a tough team to beat in New Orleans. We knew it was going to be a tough game. But we certainly have to play better than what we did in terms of our showing that we did there.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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