*INDIANAPOLIS – *The Eagles remain a fierce rival in the conference and division, but Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones can appreciate what Philaelphia accomplished in winning its first Super Bowl last month.
More than that, Jones believes the Eagles’ title heightens a perennial sense of urgency in Dallas.
“I think it raised the bar. I think it puts pressure on the Cowboys,” Jones said Saturday from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
For Jones, it’s not just that the Eagles – a fellow NFC East competitor – won the elusive Lombardi Trophy. It’s how they won.
The Cowboys lost three key players at the midway point of the season (running back Ezekiel Elliott, left tackle Tyron Smith and linebacker Sean Lee) and dropped three straight games in blowout fashion. They rallied to win four of their last five but finished one game out of the NFC wild-card race.
Philly overcame season-ending injuries to MVP-caliber quarterback Carson Wentz, left tackle Jason Peters and linebacker Jordan Hicks.
“They took it down to the bone and brought it back up to have a world championship. And we’ve been doing the same thing,” Jones said. “(The question of) ‘where’s ours?’ – that’s fair.”
Jones is a staunch supporter of head coach Jason Garrett and has pointed out several times that Garrett is one year removed from being voted NFL Coach of the Year. The main reason for that accolade, besides the Cowboys’ franchise-record tying 13 wins, was the team’s ability to overcome Tony Romo’s back injury and rally behind then-rookies Dak Prescott and Elliott.
Now the Cowboys have to find a way to find that consistency again, no matter the circumstances. The core philosophy principles are still in place – Garrett retained offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli – but several changes to assistant roles should lead to some fresh ideas on both sides of the ball.
The Cowboys have conquered adversity before. The Eagles took it to another level last year – and that’s a motivating factor for Jones and the organization.
“That to me puts more of a demanding scene for the NFL,” he said. “I think it did for us because we’re going to be playing the same schedule and the same teams, so we’re too easy to compare.”