Stephen Jones, Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President and son of team owner Jerry Jones, isn't happy about the way the Cowboys have been playing defense recently, and he doesn't think injuries are a valid excuse.
After the unit was gashed for 490 yards against the Chicago Bears in an ugly 45-28 Monday night loss, Jones was critical of their play at a recent NFL owners meeting in Dallas, according to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas.
We have to be better. You can't play defense like that and be last in the league and expect to ultimately get to where we want to get to. Ultimately it's got to improve. We know there's circumstances with injuries -- no excuses -- our defensive line is kind of where it starts. We've been beaten up there but that's part of it and we'll have to keep churning there.
The Cowboys' defense -- which is allowing a league-worst 427 yards per game -- has had its share of injury issues, but was actually as close to full strength against Chicago as it has been in months. Linebacker Sean Lee returned from a two-game absence and DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher were well rested after missing time in November.
Lee injured his neck during the loss to Chicago and was forced out during the second half.
Ware, who missed three games in late October and early November, was called out by Jerry Jones on Wednesday for his lack of production this season.
"He should actually be in the prime of his career, candidly, strength-wise, explosion-wise," the owner told The Dallas Morning News. "That's one of the things we got to, I think, count on is him having more impact in the game as he moves away from his injury."
Ware tallied the Cowboys' lone sack of Bears quarterback Josh McCown, who threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for another score. The game marked the sixth time this season Dallas has allowed at least 30 points.
"We've all got to be better," Stephen Jones said. "We've got to do a better job when we do have injuries of having better players to get up and be there. It's an organizational thing. You just have to do better on the defensive side of the ball."