Locker Room Buzz: Dallas Cowboys

NEW ORLEANS -- Observed in the locker room after the Dallas Cowboys' 49-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Same old story: For a team that has been 8-8 the past two seasons, the Cowboys find themselves at .500 once again with six games to play with the defeat.

“We’re a team that’s got to play better football than this in all facets,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “We’ve got to go back and figure out what we need to do to be a better football team because obviously it wasn’t good.”

The Cowboys remain in first place in the NFC East thanks to their Oct. 20 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) but have to plug a lot of holes before they play again on Nov. 24 against the New York Giants.

Resignation and disappointment was felt across the locker room. The issue was not the loss to the Saints. The issue was how uncompetitive the Cowboys were.

“I didn’t expect this,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “I didn’t see this coming.”

Doubting the defense: Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin would not be surprised if players would question his scheme. That’s what happens when you allow a franchise-record 625 yards and an NFL record 40 first downs. This came two weeks after they allowed 623 yards to the Detroit Lions with Calvin Johnson pulling down 329 receiving yards.

“We’ve got to get it back,” Kiffin said. “No doubt about it.”

The Cowboys have given up more than 500 yards on offense four times this season and weren’t far off from a fifth with the Giants picking up 478 in the season opener.

Walking wounded: Sean Lee will have an MRI on a hamstring injury he suffered in the first half. He did not know the severity of the injury after the game but he could not even attempt to return. Justin Durant suffered a hamstring injury in the second half. DeMarcus Ware was pulled in the second half after his quadriceps that kept him out for three games tightened up. With the outcome settled, the Cowboys did not want to put Ware at more risk of injury. Add those players to a list of starters out at the beginning of the game in Jason Hatcher, Morris Claiborne and J.J. Wilcox and it was a recipe for a long night against an offense that could not miss.