Jerry Jones believes in the cornerbacks

MOBILE, Ala. -- If there was one negative about the Cowboys defense in 2010, it was the secondary.

The Cowboys allowed 33 passing touchdowns, tied with Houston for the most in the league. Dallas' defense ranked 26th against the pass and it allowed the second most points in the league, which was also a franchise record at 436.

But Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones defended the cornerbacks on Monday, saying it's not all their fault for what happened in 2010.

The Cowboys went from two Pro Bowlers at corner in 2009, Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins, to none in 2010.

"They’re probably, and I go down through all of them, they’re a little better than probably the taste we have in our mouth," Jones said. "I’m not saying we hung them out, but I’ll say that we sure ask a lot of them, relative to maybe what we might do in the future."

Early in the season, the Cowboys played a lot of man-to-man, which is what the two outside cornerbacks like to do. When you play that type of coverage, the risk of getting beat increases. The safety play didn't help matters as Alan Ball and Gerald Sensabaugh struggled at times on deep balls.

The pass rush also didn't get to the quarterback enough to take some pressure off the corners.

"Now I don’t think we were pleased with the year they had compared to other years," Jones said. "But a part of this job is looking at not only to the talent of the player, but how he compares to other players. But in general, I’m not as negative on our cornerbacks as you might think."

It's interesting to note the Cowboys have the ninth pick of the draft this spring and there are two corners who might be available to them in LSU's Patrick Peterson and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara.

Whether the Cowboys draft a cornerback is uncertain, but Jones believes Jenkins and Newman will bounce back from their struggles of 2010. Orlando Scandrick, the slot corner, also had his issues, but he might have been the best of the three primary corners.

"We accept some of the things that we were doing and asked our corners to do," Jones said. "We probably ... when the dust settles, won’t be as hard on those corners as we might have been, or generally as fans might have been."