Romo's increased involvement paying off for Cowboys

BY foxsports • September 27, 2013

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones touched on several topics regarding the current state of the team during his Friday radio interview on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM].

Here are some of the highlights of his 12-minute interview on the Ben and Skin show.

-- Like his father mentioned a couple days earlier, Jones said the franchise would like to re-sign starting defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. But Jones added: "Unfortunately, our (salary) cap situation is going to be very tight. We'll have to really make some tough decisions, and hopefully we'll be able to figure out a way to get Jason Hatcher under the cap."

-- Jones defended the play of second-year cornerback Morris Claiborne, saying he's pleased with last year's first-round pick and adding that some players wouldn't be playing through the shoulder injury that Claiborne suffered in the season opener.

-- Speaking of injuries, Jones said he didn't think Miles Austin's strained hamstring would be anything that would have him sidelined for an extended period of time. Austin was listed on the injury report as "out" for Sunday's game in San Diego.

"I know it's very frustrating for Miles and it's disappointing for us," Jones said. "Unfortunately, this is the business. No one feels sorry for us around the league. … It's part of the game that we play. We know it's going to happen and we have to be prepared for it."

-- When asked about being optimistic about this season, part of Jones' answer included Tony Romo's increased involvement in the weekly game-planning. "We do feel like he's one of the best in the business," Jones said. "Obviously he's having a say in what's going on the offensive side. It's a collaborative effort, but he's got more influence than he's ever had. I think that's paying off."

-- Running back Joseph Randle said he will be active on Sunday. If he gets into the game, it will mean all seven of Dallas' draft picks have played at some point in the first four games. "It seems like this year, everybody has stayed healthy," Jones said of this draft class, "and certainly is playing up to and meeting, if not exceeding, expectations for when we drafted them."

-- With Brian Waters likely stepping into the starting lineup against the Chargers, Mackenzy Bernadeau will become a backup interior linemen, giving the Cowboys what Jones called "real depth."

-- Sticking with the offensive line, Jones said Doug Free is the o-line's leader in the meeting room. "He's a hardworking guy that all the guys have respect for," Jones said. "He's very smart. He's just the leader of that group.

"They all look up to Doug. They all respect him."

Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota

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