Jerry Jones doesn’t want fans believing this year’s Dallas Cowboys defense could be worse than last year’s. An owner admitting to his customers that his team could have the worst defense in NFL history is obviously not good for business.
Jones revealed his reasons to be optimistic on Friday.
A few defensive starters did the same after Saturday night’s 37-30 preseason loss to Baltimore.
"This is Year 2 in our defensive scheme, guys are learning more of the ins and outs of the defense, and as a staff and as players, we know our strengths and our weaknesses from last year," Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said. "Hopefully this year we can play to our strengths and go out there and make more plays."
Defensive end George Selvie says the upside comes with getting key players healthy. The hope is that the defensive line will be significantly better once they get back injured players like Henry Melton, Terrell McClain, Anthony Spencer and eventually rookie DeMarcus Lawrence, who could miss half the season with a broken foot.
"I’m very encouraged," Selvie said. "I think we’re a great defense. We just got to get everybody back on the field. Everybody has to get healthy and we got to get rolling."
After giving up a league-high 415 yards per game last season, the Cowboys defense has surrendered 331 yards to Baltimore and 395 yards to San Diego in their first two preseason games.
Dallas’ defense allowed 27 points per game in 2013. In two preseason games, opponents are averaging 32 points per game against the Cowboys.
Obviously, it’s only preseason, but over the last month, there have been very few reasons to think this group will be any better than last season’s bunch that was the worst in franchise history.
"We are resilient, and no matter what the deficit is, we are going to keep fighting as we showed [Saturday night]," Cowboys safety Barry Church said. "And as long as we can stay healthy, I feel like the sky’s the limit for us."