If you could bottle the optimism Jerry Jones walks around with – and sell it – one day you could have your own vast empire like the owner of the Dallas Cowboys.
Jones has maintained all along, even through a rough and bumpy start to the season, that the Cowboys could be positioned to compete for the Lombardi Trophy this season. The NFC race is wide open at this early juncture and the Cowboys enter Sunday’s showdown with the New York Giants at 3-3. But they lost inside linebacker Sean Lee to a season-ending toe injury and health issues are mounting.
As Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas reports, it sounds like Jones is changing his tune a little bit when it comes to expectations for this season.
“I’ve said all along I think this team has an opportunity to be a contender, but the one exception that I made was, sitting as we’re sitting right now health-wise, injury can make a difference and does in the NFL,” Jones said.
The Cowboys pulled off an upset to begin the season at New York. Now, they have the Giants coming into their own backyard. A victory would be huge for the banged-up Cowboys. A loss? It wouldn’t be crippling but at some point playoff teams have to stack wins and Dallas also figures to be without running back DeMarco Murray.
“Against this team, arguably the best team in the NFL, we wanted all hands on deck," Jones said. "It is disappointing not to have two players of that caliber. It’s been my experience when you do have a situation like this, others will step up. Others on the field at different positions will compensate."
That’s asking for a lot of compensating.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune