DALLAS -- Before he was inducted into the Leadership Hall of Fame for the National Football Foundation, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Thursday night he was disappointed in some of his younger players.
Jones expected to see better play from linebacker Bruce Carter and cornerback Morris Claiborne. Each player struggled in last week's loss to the San Diego Chargers and Carter could lose his starting job to veteran Ernie Sims for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos. Claiborne isn't the starting cornerback, replaced by Orlando Scandrick, but he plays on passing downs and against three receiver sets.
Jones said he's confident both players will bounce back from poor performances but it's upsetting to see these recent draft picks struggle.
"I am disappointed," Jones said Thursday night. "They aren't playing better. I don’t think I'm as disappointed as they are individually."
In Claiborne, the Cowboys moved from No. 14 to No. 6 and gave up a second-round pick, to select Claiborne in the 2012 draft. In less than two seasons, Claiborne has one interception and nine pass breakups.
"I think the real way for me to say it is we would have (done the trade again) because of what we think of him and what we know of him," Jones said. "And those first, second and third-round picks that are good athletes, we think they would have played at a higher level. We don’t have anymore (excuses). But the big thing that I would want to say and I think they will step up their game and correct the kinds of things that are (wrong). There's one thing that you can't correct; a lack of speed or lack of athletic ability."
Carter, a 2011 second-round pick, moved into a starting role last season in the 3-4 defense, but in the new 4-3 scheme he's started 2013 well yet has struggled in pass coverage something that is supposed to be a strength. Carter, as well as Claiborne, have dealt with confidence issues.
Carter admitted he had a lack of focus in the Chargers game and he was benched for a portion of the second half for Sims.
"I actually thought Sims played pretty good when he came in the other day and he actually played better than Carter played," Jones said. "I look for Carter to rebound and play better and so I think that will happen. Probably in a game like were playing, where these linebackers are going to not only run but pass defend, we’re going to need both of those guys all day."