Stephen Jones seems to understand that the Cowboys are a work in progress. Even after the executive vice president watched his team hold the Carolina Panthers to 14 points Sunday in Charlotte, he noticed that improvements are still needed on the defensive side of the ball.
“We’re still giving up some big plays,” Jones said Monday during his weekly radio appearance on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM].
Jones specifically pointed to Carolina’s two touchdown drives during the 19-14 Cowboys victory.
Late in the second quarter, the Panthers’ 10-play, 81-yard drive was heavily aided by consecutive plays, Cam Newton’s 15-yard run and his 32-yard pass to Brandon LaFell.
Carolina didn’t score again until early in the final quarter. That nine-play, 66-yard drive saw Jonathan Stewart gash the Cowboys defense for a 20-yard run. Newton then found Louis Murphy for a 26-yard gain, two plays later.
“We got to cut down on the big plays,” Jones said. “But overall, slowly but surely, we’re heading in a good direction.”
For the third time this season, the Cowboys held their opponent to 17 points or less. All three of those games have resulted in a Dallas victory.
In their three losses, the Cowboys have allowed their opponents to score an average of 30.6 points per game.
But regardless of how many points the Cowboys concede, Jones is pleased as long as it’s one less than what his team scores.
“Well, we’re improving,” Jones said. “We’re staying in the mix. If we can continue to improve, then we can stick some really good wins and really start to pick up our play and we can get on a run. You know what happens then.
“Teams move around during the course of the year and we’ve got to hang in there and win our share of them and get hot at the right time. And who knows what might happen. I know this, our coaches are coaching hard and I know our players certainly feel like they can get the job done. They practice hard every week. They go out and work hard at it and they believe that we can really develop into a good football team. I certainly wouldn’t bet against these guys.
“I think they’ve got a great shot here to have a good season. We just have to continue to improve as a team.”