Jerry Jones: Injuries are no excuse for Cowboys’ bad defense


After he was fired as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan said injuries were the biggest problem he faced.

“When we weren’t short-handed, we were kicking ass,” Ryan said.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, however, doesn’t remember it that way.

In an interview on KTVT-TV in Dallas, Jones said the Cowboys’ defense was healthy in a Week Two loss to the Seahawks and a Week Four loss to the Bears, and those games were the ones that first made Jones think he was going to have to make changes to his defensive coaching staff.

I thought we could play better before the injuries, and so I factored that in,” Jones said, via “It wasn’t like we had a lot of injuries out here when we played Chicago. It wasn’t like we had a lot of injuries when we played Seattle. I didn’t like the way we played there. It’s not hard for me to go to those games and say what can we do to improve when we played Seattle and when we played Chicago.”

Jones may be right that Ryan deserved to get fired, but blaming the losses to the Seahawks and Bears on Ryan’s defense suggests that Jones only remembers the 27-7 and 38-16 final scores, and not the way Ryan’s defense played.

Here’s how the loss to the Seahawks started: Felix Jones fumbled the opening kickoff and the Seahawks recovered to set Seattle up at the Dallas 29-yard-line, but Ryan’s defense held Seattle’s offense to a field goal. On the next possession, the Cowboys’ offense went three-and-out, the punt was blocked and the Seahawks recovered for a touchdown. On the next possession, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw an interception, again setting up the Seahawks in Cowboys territory, but Ryan’s defense held firm and forced the Seahawks to punt. It’s true that in the second half of that game the Cowboys’ defense allowed the Seahawks to run out the clock with two long scoring drives, but only after the Cowboys’ offense and special teams had handed the Seahawks a lead.

And the loss to the Bears was more about Romo throwing five interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns, than it was about the Cowboys’ defense. If that game led to Ryan losing his job, should it also lead to Romo losing his job?

Ryan’s defense didn’t get the job done last season, particularly in the two losses to the Redskins that, had the Cowboys won, would have made the Cowboys NFC East champions. So it’s not a surprise that Ryan was fired. But while Jones may not want to hear any excuses, Ryan is right that the Cowboys were hit hard by injuries on defense.

96 responses to “Jerry Jones: Injuries are no excuse for Cowboys’ bad defense

  1. I was tired of seeing Ware drop back in coverage,but how you going to fire the RB and def coach for under performing ,and not Garrett who’s offense is so predictable,and he couldn’t adjust when the redskins was blitzing ,I’m sick of Garrett and his conservative play calling

  2. Garrett needs a play caller because, well, he’s awful. And Romobyl gets a Get Out Of Jail Free card again.

    But injuries on D don’t count.

    Wooooeeeeee Cowboys.

  3. Now that’s just crazy. To blame the bears loss on Ryan is almost laughable. It shows this blind love that he has for Jason garret and tony romo to blame it on rob Ryan rather than an offense coach that refuses to run the ball and 5 turnovers. I remember cringing at our offense not our defense that game. I am actually shocked jones brought up those 2 games of all games

  4. Whatever you do, don’t fire the GM Jerry. He’s the heart and sould of a dysfunctional franchise.

  5. I wonder if there will ever be a time where 31 owners go to one owner and tell him he’s so bad that he needs to leave the game. Could the league buy a team from a clearly incompetent owner, run it for a season until they find someone to buy it from them? Didn’t baseball do something similar?

    Not saying this is it, but looking down the road, sooner or later it’s coming and I’m guessing that it’s coming for Jerruh.

  6. Just more proof how clueless Jerry Jones is and would have been nothing without Jimmy Johnson

  7. Only a cowboys fan would know that much detail to two losses by the cowgirls . Not to mention still bringing up the two losses to the redskins as the reason the cowboys didn’t win the division. Maybe if they had won more games than the redskins they could have also won the NFC east . MDS you have no objectivity and should not be blogging ,writing or whatever you call it unless you can be completely objective . That’s part of being a journalist.

  8. The wrong Ryan got fired… The Cowboys are a joke now and will continue to be one until Jerry Jones steps down…

  9. Well are injuries an excuse for having a marginal defense because that is what the Cowboys were rank 19th? When I think bad defense…I’m thinking Jags!

  10. I’m no Cowboys fan (in fact I can’t stand them) but injuries often make a pretty good excuse and in Dallas’ case they certainly contributed to the losses. On the other hand, Tony Romo contributed a lot more.

  11. the problem with the cowboys is tony romo… romo keeps throwin int… i hope rob ryan gets hired where he can face the cowboys gets smack out of jerry jones face..

  12. Ryan was right injury’s did cripple the Defense. Jerry is quickly turning into Al Davis. I hope my fellow Cowboys fans are ready for a long run of mediocre years until Jerry gives up control or pulls an Al Davis and passes on. I would like to see Jerry hire a GM but everyone knows he won’t.

  13. Move on… Find the next coach, free agent and draft well….. The past is the past. Focus on who is next….

  14. Plain and simple. Ryan was taking too much face time from Jerry. Every time the camera cut to Ryan cussing someone out it was one less time Jerry’s plastic face was shown on TV. Jerry ain’t sharing the spotlight with anybody

  15. IMO, Rob Ryan’s defenses have never been statistically great. Look up the stats yourselves. If Rob Ryan were ever confronted with those stats, perhaps that would be the first time a Ryan would have nothing to say.

    Those five minutes have gone by and old Robby boy is still out of a job, why am I not surprised.

    It is fine and dandy to talk a good game, but it is far more important to coach one.

  16. Why is there so much talk about Ryan? He wasn’t very good at the job and was fired.
    The guys defenses have averaged finishing 22nd in the league for yards and points over his 9 years as a DC. It’s not like it was just last year that he’s not been very good at his job. If it wasn’t for the Ryan name he’d have been back coaching LBers years ago.
    Seriously, where did this myth that he’s a good DC come from?

  17. Few will complain Ryan was fired. He’s an overrated blowhard who rarely puts up an average defense never mind a top ten defense. That’s not the issue. The issues are Jones as the GM, Garrett as the HC and Romo as the player the franchise is built around.

    A better defense might get this team to 10 and 6. But it will still flail around in the games that count. If they could only get to a few more games that count.

  18. One could argue that the redskins defense, with an overrated corner, rookies, aging veterans and injuries on their pass rush front played better than Dallas’ Defense down the stretch. With that said, I think Jones is right, injuries are no excuse. Haslett played with the hand he was dealt in washington and made a product that was better than its parts. Rob Ryan really has no excuse. Unless you want to argue they have no depth or quality backups, in that case its back on Jerruh.

  19. My team doesn’t have any superbowl victories…actually lost 4 in a row….and have missed the playoffs 13 straight years…but I’m glad I’m not a Cowboys fan

  20. The Cowboys are a great representative of “‘Merica’s Team”.
    They have terrible leadership with all these problems and they are consistent in making changes that has little to do with the actual problem.

  21. This article shows how incompetent Jones is as a GM. I never liked the choice of Garrett as a HC because although he is a nice guy, the Cowboys need a proven HC. Not a Yes Man.

    Unfortunately, this problem’s remedy will never admit that HE is a major problem in fixing this organization.

  22. So how do you explain then that the Redskins, who had more starters lost per game than the Cowboys were able to beat Dallas twice and win the NFC East with more injuries than Dallas?

  23. Come on, is it really the D-coordinator’s fault? I mean the cowboys have had two prominent defensive minds Ryan and Wade Phillips and couldn’t get the job done…so maybe it’s the players and injuries.

    Regardless as long as Jerruh running the circus plan on seeing more of the same…

  24. QB throws 3 picks and fails to EVER step up when it really matters and Jerry decides to fire the defensive guy…..yeah, that’s why the Cowboy suck sir!

  25. We Redskins fans LOVE Tony “Mr. Clutch” Romo and are thrilled with your “GM” Jerrah Jones. Every time Jerrah gets that look on his craggy face that looks like he’s just bit into something sour it warms our hearts, and he gets that look on his face a lot, e.g., every time Tony throws another wounded duck interception like he did at the end of the last Skins game. And ya gotta love that scene of “his honor” JJ asking his son-in-law to clean his glasses for him. What a pompous jackass. Almost makes me feel sorry for Cowboy fans to have to put up with an owner like Jones. “America’s team!” Ya, right, but if so that’s based on your cheerleaders, not your team. JJ is almost as arrogant as the Ryan boys and their daddy! Hope he keeps making GM decisions for a longgggg time in Dallas….

  26. Absolutely, if injuries brought Defense down, lack of depth and quality backups is the culprit, which means, as we already knew, Jerruh is the guilty party. Won’t fire himself, though. Jerruh is turning into Al Davis with a twang and a face-lift – out of touch with what you need to win in the NFL, never blaming his favorites for their lack of performance, etc. But, at least Al fired the head coach when he deemed it necessary. Jerruh is minting money at his new pleasure dome, and isn’t hungry enough for another SuperBowl trophy to overcome his tunnel vision. I guess the plan is to stick with “Tony Romo-OhNo!” until he’s 40, then ask Troy Aikman to come out of retirement. Guess he looks at Eli Manning and figures it’ll happen one day for Tony. Dream on, Jerruh!

  27. If Ryan goes Garrett definitely has to go. He might be a Princeton Grad but he falls short of being a successful football coach. CLEAN HOUSE!!

  28. This team has gone from Great to average at best, after Jimmy Johnson left (I know they won a Super Bowl 2 years after he left). But Jerry gets what he wants – all the media attention.
    Selling oil and gas is fairly easy, running a succesfull NFL team – very difficult – aka. Madden level 🙂

  29. Why doesnt anyone blame Jerry for drafting the worst locker room people and the laziest players? Half the offensive problem is not everyones on the same page. The receivers run the wrong routes, the running back blocks the wrong side of a blitz, the QB is Tony Romo. I mean cmon, the list goes on with their offense. And Jerry making waves as if he always has done well and his employees are to blame. And then he blames the wrong ones. I have said it before, worst owner in football.

  30. The idiot deserved to be fired. I remember when Rob Ryan got an unsportsmanlike penalty against the Bengals. Hard to preach discipline to a defensive unit when the leader has zero discipline!

  31. How bout it’s the Owner/GM, Head Coach, Assistant coach, and coordinators fault…If I was around when Dallas was in there prime many years ago, I would be disgusted with what the Cowboys have become, or what Jerry Jones made them. I’m not hating I’m only keeping it real.

  32. Not a Cowboys fan but not a hater either…just wondering what in the world is wrong with JJ? That offense was horrible and mentioning these 2 games as a significant reason for firing the D-Coord…seriously? SERIOUSLY? Everyone on the planet would point to the 5 INT’s in the Bears game and say “you can’t win turning the ball over 5 times…especially with 2 leading directly to TD’s.” This guy has become a joke, the next Al Davis!!

  33. This was a business, not personal, decision. On the personal front Jerrah is letting it be known that he is 1000% supportive of Jimmy and Rob’s effort to form the ‘Jerrah Jones Fan Club’!

  34. I think rob should have been fired. You draft and sign a corner to play press coverage so you can blitz more often and even when healthy they did neither. His game planning was a joke he did more talking than anything else. As for romo lets see Vick sucks but it’s because Andy Reid never runs the ball and the o line was horrible hmmmmm. Sounds o bit familiar except this fact romo’s numbers and wins were way better across the board. Yes romo tossed a bunch of int’s because he was pressured more than anyone I’m the league deffensed didn’t worry about the run because Dallas never ran. Ryan needed to go and the other key move would be to tell Garrett we are getting an offensive coordinator and you are done calling plays or you are done being head coach

  35. All I can think about here is the interview with Jimmy Johnson and Jerruh when they asked JJ if he respected Jerruh’s football knowledge…

    To go back to the Chicago & Seattle games, given that the offense and special teams mistakes led to the points scored just makes that interview come to mind…

    As long as Jerry is calling football shots, Dallas fans can be used to this.

  36. I personally blame Romo for the season.

    With that said, Injuries can definitely cost teams games.

    The year James Harrison was Defensive MVP, you could point to about 5 games where had he not made a play, the Steelers wouldn’t have made the playoffs. Instead, they were Super Bowl champions.

    Had some average guy come in for him because he got injured, would that have meant Dick Lebaeu was not a good defensive coach?

  37. I’m sorry Cowboys fans, and as a Saints fan you have everyright to shout me down. But, I honestly thought that Cowboys played well enough on defense this last year to make the playoffs. They weren’t last in the league. They were middle of the pack. And, I can remember games last year where the defense held up for three and four series in a row, but the offense couldn’t get a frist down. I think this was more about personality then performanc. I remember when Buddy Ryan was coaching if he wasn’t the head coach the players on the offense was trash. And, he didn’t mind letting everyone know what he thought. I bet he was ragging on the offense and
    Garret and Romo

  38. Hard for the defense to rest when they have to keep coming back on the field after a pick.

    Garrett and Romo still in Dallas, 8-8 I don’t care how good the defense is.

  39. Dallas Cowboys are a sideshow attraction run by a carnival barker and his favorite clowns romo and garrett. Dave Campo is sitting in his lazy boy saying Garrett isn’t half the head coach I was!

  40. I hate the Ryan bros, but Jerry is a terrible GM and owner.

    Now Cowboys fans can look forward to what the Raider fans had to go through during Al Davis’s final years, and expect that for like the next 10-15 years.

    I’m sorry guys.

  41. The Cowboys may have a bad GM but the Eagles have the cheapest owner in the NFL.He fires the best coach the Eagles ever had (caving into the fans) and then says he wants to win a Super Bowl while looking for a bargain based assistant nobody to coach the team.

  42. I’ve been a diehard Cowboys fan for the last 35 years. In that time I’ve seen the good and the bad. The only thing that saved Jerry from ruining the 90’s dynasty team was a strong willed coach that Jerry couldn’t run over. Since Johnson and Switzer left he has consistently run the show into the ground. His love of Jason Garret is simply because he can run over him. Don’t get me wrong, he wants to win as much as or more than any other owner.
    That doesn’t change the fact that what hes done is not, has not, and will not work in this league. We need a real coach that the players will respond to, as well as a real play caller. The firing of Ryan is not the answer. When your qb gives the game away no defense can pull you from the fire. Even with the injuries, they were still pretty good and headed in the right direction. I grew up watching a real coach that was respected by all around him. We need that again if we are ever to be a contender for anything other than the laughing stock of the NFL. Jerry needs to back up and let someone that has a clue run this team the right way. What Garret is doing just isn’t working. Even Jerry has to see that.

  43. Astounding the football knowledge in this article and especially on the comments. It’s incredible that you are not all GMs, owners. Perhaps the correlation is the difference between actually being able to DO SOMETHING vs. sitting back and taking easy pot shots anonymously from a computer? hmmmmmm….

  44. For all of you that thinks its ok for our defense to give more hundred yards rushers than any other time in Cowboys history then its something wrong with you, not Jerry. This team’s defense has gotten worst the last two years. Injuries are not an excuse when your picking your starters and backups. When you have an all world pass rusher and you dont know how to use him. When its third down and you go to the most predictable zone coverages. When your near to last place in creating turnovers. When your biltzes dont produce sacks. When opposing offense’s dont fear going over the middle. When you fail to adjust to your injuries. When you pay 50 million to a bump and run cover corner and you play him five to ten yards off the reciever. When you get on TV and talk about how your going to kick someones ass. When you give teams bulletin board material. When I know from home in front of the tv what an opposing team is trying to do to us on third down. YOu get FIRED!!! Point blank. And you all can talk and talk about Jerry getting a GM all you want, but its not going to happend. It’s funny how you all want to give Jimmy Johnson all of the credit for building that SuperBowl team in the 90’s but it was Jerry pulling the trigger on those deals. Jerry has done a good job of drafting future hall of famers. With the likes of Witten(03) and Ware(05). A host of probowlers like Ratliff, Roy Williams, Bradie James, Newman and Marion Barber. And future stars like Sean Lee, DeMarco Murry, Bruce Carter, Dez Bryant, and Tyrone Smith. Undrafted stars like Miles Austin, and Tony Romo. Speaking of Romo, Do any of you think that we would be half as good without him? Do any of you remember the seven QB’s that came between him and Akiman?? How many games did they win?? There is not one QB in the NFL that hasnt thrown a INT at bad times. The difference is, in most case’s, their defense held on and gave them another shot to redeem themselfs. The problem in Dallas is coaching and play calling. Too many times this year this team had to comeback late in games to win or come just short of winning. You can look back at those games and see poor play calling and a lack of clock management. Garrett should be the next to go, But I think it might be easier to find a new DC rather than finding a new HC. Not many names out there. And if it was soo easy to win superbowls, Every team in the NFL would have a Superbowl trophy..

  45. The Ancient Greeks practiced a scapegoating rite in which a cripple, beggar or criminal was cast out of the community either in response to a natural disaster (such as a plague, famine or an invasion) or in response to a calendrical crisis (such as the end of the year).

    Ryan, take your punishment for the good of the Cowboy community!

  46. Of course injuries kill your team. Look at the Colts w/o Manning. The ‘Skins w/o RG3. This attitude is what leads to worse injuries when injured players and their staffs think they have to play hurt. Totally, utterly STUPID!

  47. As a Cowboys fan I have only one thing to say!

    Jerry Jones, when it comes to football, you sir are an idiot!

  48. Cowboys win= Jerry: I did it!my brilliant moves are why we won the game!

    Cowboys lose= its all your fault!*points at everyone in the locker room expect himself*

  49. I would say we need whole lot help for the cowboys if they draft some good players from the college and a good defensive coach or a head coach. Also, searching for a good quaterback as well. Romo is good. Everytime when he threw a pass, get intercepted. We need a quaterback that can pickup a blitz or pressure

  50. Ryan should have stayed. Jones is the one that needs to go! His epitaph will read “built stadiums, NOT teams”.

  51. As a Cowboys fan, I find it Ironic that the whole season the shabby defense with couch players kept them in most of the games but the crappy offense that Garrett leads couldn’t score points. I’m starting to wonder if I’m seeing it wrong, cause it doesn’t make sense!

  52. Ryan, like his brother is a blowhard, but a fair defensive coach. He wasn’t the reason they weren’t winning. The main 2 reasons were Garrett and Romo, so Jerry please keep them!!!

  53. Hey Jerrah, I hear they’re lookin’ for a GM for the Jests, with your credentials you would be a great fit!

  54. jcg2822 says:
    Jan 10, 2013 7:13 AM
    Ryan was right injury’s did cripple the Defense. Jerry is quickly turning into Al Davis. I hope my fellow Cowboys fans are ready for a long run of mediocre years until Jerry gives up control or pulls an Al Davis and passes on. I would like to see Jerry hire a GM but everyone knows he won’t.
    ———————————————————————————–Hope Cowboy fans ready for a long run of mediocre. Dude did U just come out of a coma? The Cowboys have been horrible since Jimmy Johnson talent ran out. & the person that said Jerrah brought in talent with Jimmy Johnson are u actually Jerra Jones posting on here. Shame on U. U fraud of a Owner/GM.

  55. Injuries are not an excuse, they are a fact.

    If Brady gets injured, does that impact the Patriots?
    RGIII gets injured, does that impact the Patriots?

    If a player’s value-talent did not matter and effect the outcome of a game then they would all have the same salary and there would be no draft.

    That injuries absolutely effect a team’s ability to play their best ball is clearly a reality.

    Its not an excuse Mr Jones, its real.

    Schemes and strategies are not the only part of WINNING…you can’t forget talent and health…and of course will.

    How does a Reality-TV Show Corporation like the Cowboys plan to build a culture of responsibility if they can just own what they say.

    “Rob Ryan did an OK job, all things considered, but I needed to fire someone because I do not have the capacity for self-reflection.”

    -Dallas Cowboys Fan

  56. I have my own reasons why Ryan should have been fired. On 83% of the defensive plays Ryan rushed 4 or less, certainly not aggressive enough especially when your reputation is one that employs all kinds of exotic blitzes. And as perfect examples of the consequences of a “play not to lose” defensive philosophy which he subscribed to, the two long drives that Dallas allowed Seattle sealed their fate.

  57. Jones has been wrong since he cut JJ loose and could have ended up with 4 or 5 Super Bowls in a row…

    One thing I will bet my house on, Jones is never going to see another Super Bowl with Cowboys in it…

  58. The defense was thin. The defensive linemen were created by Bill Parcels and the last of it is deteriorating (Ratcliff). Without that muscle and size, your skill guys like Ware/Lee/Carter get banged up good. Do you think Ray Lewis could’ve played 17 seasons without 350lb talented cloggers in front of him?

    GM is to blame. You could have 2 Deion Sanders out there but teams will continue to gash you right up the middle. For an example of how to do things right, please reference Seahawks, Seattle.

    Jerry is delusional and with firing Ryan under these circumstances you have to wonder that only a fairly desperate DC would take the Dallas job. How much of an upgrade could that be over Ryan?

  59. I’d like to say I’ll miss Ryan but his inability to come up with a blitz scheme when they couldn’t get to the QB was amazingly frustrating.

    That being said, if they’re letting him go then its inconceivable that they keep Garrett and Romo who are far more problematic than he was.

  60. When Dallas went to a 3 man pass rush, it never worked. A change is needed and the NFL is a bottom line business.

    At Cleveland Ryan’s excuse was his players, now the injuries. A blow hard like all the underachieving Ryans.

  61. I finally figured out why so many of you so-called Cowboys fans hate Jerry. You guys never gotten over him firing Landry. Why else would there be such hate for this guy. He brought three superbowls to town. After that, we’ve won nine division titles. Now I wonder why there is so much Romo hate. Like we would be battling for a divion title without him. Maybe you all forgot those seven nobodies that came before him. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought he was a first round bust. I’ll be the first to admit, he has to stop making bone head mistakes. But to say he’s the only problem here. No way. He’s the reason we are as good as we are. I guess you all think there’s a Payton Manning growing on a tree near you. Sorry, but there isn’t. In my opinion, we need a play caller. Garrett has failed us on that front. But these guys play for him. They didn’t quit when the chips where down. If a Super Bowl was so easy to win, how come Philly hasn’t won one yet??

  62. You redskins fans kill me. You guys just won your first division title since 99. Haven’t won a Super Bowl since 91. And to top it all off. Your coach may have just shorting you all’s savior career by being stubborn. Be happy with your season and keep the Cowboys and their business out of your mouths!!

  63. I have no problem with Ryan being let go. If they go back to the 4-3 then you cannot get schemed out of a pass rush. AKA Ware will not be down field covering RB’s and will be rushing passer.
    Giant, 49ers all use 4-3 and bring the rush. Landry used 4-3, JJ used 4-3. 4-3 designed to get to passer 3-4 designed to stop the run… NFL==passing league now…

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