FRISCO, Texas — In January, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones dealt with the disappointment of another playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. As he enters his 35th season, Jones believes this year’s Cowboys team is better than the one that ended last season.
“Some years going in, I’ve known that we were in better shape than others,” Jones said in a conversation that will air on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown.” “There are parts of this team that we’re in as good shape as we’ve ever been in since I’ve been a Dallas Cowboy.”
Ahead of the team’s season opener Sunday against the New York Giants, Jones is not calling 2023 a Super Bowl-or-bust season.
“I feel strongly that we should aspire and, frankly, do anything at any time that can make us better right now to compete at that level,” he said. “I think I’m saying a lot when I say that. This isn’t about years in the future. The good news is you can make the decisions that can help you right now first and foremost but can also be additive for the future. Those are the ones I’m looking for and trying to compromise on every day.”
Jones continued to back Dak Prescott, who is entering his eighth year as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback. Prescott has not gotten past the divisional round in four career playoff appearances as he tries to do what only Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman have done for Dallas.
Asked what Prescott needs to show him to prove he is a Super Bowl quarterback, Jones said, “I think that we first of all have to realize how few Super Bowls that even the greatest quarterbacks attain. And it’s never too late to start. And so that if Dak should start this year with a Super Bowl and tack one or two more on, then he would be right there with the best that have ever played for the Dallas Cowboys.”
Jones said he believes Prescott’s play will improve in 2023 in part because coach Mike McCarthy is now calling plays, making tweaks to the only offense Prescott has run.
McCarthy “is going to have the benefit of [former OC Kellen Moore] but at the same time be able to really, I think, benefit from having seen these players play, having seen the pluses and minuses of what Kellen did as a playcaller,” Jones said. “I think all of those things will make us a better team now.”
And what happens if the Cowboys do not win a Super Bowl this season, stretching their championship drought to 28 years?
“How we are as a team as we evolve through this season, all of that we’ll weigh,” Jones said. “We could very easily have a team that doesn’t hold the trophy up but be dramatically better than one that if you cleaned house. So we’ll let that set of facts, [let] that play during this ’23 year be the influencing things when we get to ’24.
“You ask me, ‘Is winning the Super Bowl imperative without blowing this team up?’ And I say, no, it is not.”