Not even Jones optimistic about Cowboys

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
1:49
AM ET

ARLINGTON -- The Dallas Cowboys completed their first winless preseason since 2000 Thursday night at AT&T Stadium.

Denver smashed Dallas 27-3 as the Cowboys joined the Indianapolis Colts as the only teams to lose all four exhibition matches. The Cowboys lost their four games by a combined score of 116-60. The 56-point differential was the NFL's largest.

The Cowboys went 0-5 in 1962, 1986 and 1998 and 2000.

Chan Gailey's 1998 team that had Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders went 10-6 and won the NFC East. None of the other teams made the playoffs.

Nothing owner Jerry Jones has said in the last 24 hours should make you feel optimistic about the 2014 season.

[+] EnlargeJerry Jones
AP Photo/Brandon WadeJerry Jones knows this Cowboys team has a lot of question marks on defense.
In an ESPN The Magazine article Jerry is quoted as saying he's still mad the Cowboys didn't quarterback Johnny Manziel in the first round because it would've made them relevant for another decade.

Has Jerry really been so seduced by the Cowboys' cache and marketing prowess -- Forbes reported this week the Cowboys are worth $3.2 billion, tops in the NFL -- that he's forgotten what's important?

Even if the Cowboys drafted Manziel in April he wasn't going to play anytime soon because Tony Romo's six-year, $108 million contract extension begins this season.

The only way Manziel was going to get on the field is if Romo suffered an injury, forcing him into the lineup.

Jerry's in love with the idea of Manziel keeping the Cowboys on prime time television and in the headlines no matter how bad the product on the field.

Here's a novel approach: Win some games. Win some playoffs games. Compete for a championship.

The Cowboys have one playoff win since 1996, which is shameful. They have missed the playoffs each of the past four seasons and it'll probably be five when this season ends.

Perhaps, Jerry has forgotten the Cowboys didn't become America's Team and one of the most polarizing franchises in professional sports because of glitz and glamour. They became marketable because they won with a collection of personalities and Hall of Fame players.

Don't forget, the the Cowboys used to be sarcastically called, "Next year's champions" because they couldn't win the biggest games.

Making the playoffs an NFL record 20 consecutive years with players ranging from Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett to Aikman and Smith made the Cowboys' blue star among the world's most identifiable logos.

Drafting Manziel would've been the dumbest move Jerry made since letting his ego get in the way of his relationship with Jimmy Johnson. We know this because Jerry's the only one in the organization that thought it was a good move.

Not vice president Stephen Jones. Or coach Jason Garrett. Or assistant director player personnel Will McClay. Or anyone else in the organization with a valued opinion.

If the Cowboys did a better job of drafting and developing players they'd have more young stars such as Dez Bryant to build marketing campaigns around.

Then again, Jerry is as desperate as he's ever been. This team is as far away from the Super Bowl as the day Jerry hired Garrett, in part, because the Cowboys have been trying to rebuild without bottoming out.

It's a worthy goal, but it has left the Cowboys with a quality offense and an abject defense.

Having watched training camp and four preseason games, you get the feeling several offensive players such as Jamar Newsome, Ryan Williams and LaRon Byrd will wind up on NFL rosters or practice squads if they get released, while defensive players who don't make this team will need to contemplate the next phase of their life.

That's one of the reasons Jerry told fans at the team's kickoff luncheon Wednesday that the 2014 season was going to be an "uphill battle."

"These guys we're expecting to play have a lot to prove to play the way we expect them to play," Jerry said. "I candidly have these thoughts that you do your best work when you have the longest odds.

"This team has no-name guys. Guys that weren't No.1 draft picks. Guys that were retired. You have guys coming back from injuries. This a to-prove group. The to-prove Cowboys."

This from a man who wears Ray-Bans with rose-colored lenses to bed, while listening to Tony Robbins CDs. If Jerry isn't optimistic, then this team must be far worse than we even imagined.
Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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