|Jerry Jones has been impressed with Eli but is very happy with Romo. (Getty Images)|
By Ryan Wilson
Jerry Jones is in Mobile, Alabama this week for the Senior Bowl because, in addition to being the Cowboys' owner, he's also the general manager. The man who wears many hats in Dallas took time out from evaluating the next crop of draft-eligible players to talk about the Cowboys, whose Week 17 loss to the Giants kept them out of the playoffs.
“I thought (Tony) Romo was competing at a level that would’ve given us that opportunity but the rest of us need to play better and get better before we can really gel the way the Giants are,” Jones said via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman.
Hard to disagree with that. According to Football Outsiders, Romo was No. 4 in quarterback efficiency behind Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Eli ranked sixth (Matthew Stafford was fifth).
After ESPNDallas' Calvin Watkins tweeted Monday that "Jerry Jones said the biggest difference between the Cowboys and Giants is Eli Manning. He did praise Tony Romo," there was some confusion that Jones preferred Eli to Tony. Not at all. In fact, Jones was only implying that New York is in the Super Bowl because Manning is playing out of his mind.
“I don’t want to take anything away [from the Giants] but the big difference was Eli came up here and started what seemed like a pretty significant [stretch]," Jones said. "But the quarterback play with Eli was the huge difference. But I was pretty impressed with how they’ve defense played the last three or four ball games. …
"We had good quarterback play, but I'd say as a team, they just got better and better near the end," he added. "Their depth, that's how I view us. I had counted -- we had counted -- on getting better, and we didn't. We went the other way."
Of course, those personnel decisions rest at Jones' feet. Which, of course, is why he's in Mobile. As for 2012, Jones explains that the Cowboys' plan for success involves "new faces" in the secondary, getting "younger" on defense, but avoiding the trappings of youth on the offensive line.
Seems like Jones is making it more complicated than it needs to be. Either way, here's the bottom line:
"We just want to make sure we don't compromise things because I'm more into not squandering the prime years of Romo, so we want to make sure we're giving him every opportunity in protection," he said, "and we'll work hard on that in the off-season."
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