FRISCO, Texas – It's an obvious sentiment, but it packs a little more punch coming from the owner of the team.
With his team sitting on a 4-3 record coming out of the bye week, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones was asked Tuesday if this is where he thought his team would be. His answer was blunt.
"No. I thought we would be better, our record would be better," Jones said. "Just the obvious, we didn't think the Jets game would have the outcome that it had. But I do know this: I don't know which ones, but I know you're going to get some surprises both ways."
That's a valid point. Every offseason, we point out the futility of predicting the NFL ahead of time, as it's impossible to predict a league with so much parity. And yet, in every season, we're continuously surprised when long-expected results go the opposite way.
This year's embarrassing loss to the New York Jets and last year's gutsy win against the New Orleans Saints immediately come to mind on both sides of that spectrum.
Regardless of the twists and turns of a season, Jones made it clear: the first seven games have not been good enough.
"Let's just say that I thought we'd be better than this," he said.
Obviously, that has no bearing on what's to come. This time last year the Cowboys were in a worse situation, slumping to a 3-5 record before roaring to a 7-1 finish. And Jones acknowledged that he's happy with the current state of his roster, as the Cowboys used the bye week to get several of their best players healthy.
"I'd rather be here at 4-3 with other positives going right for us – injury being the principle one," he said. "I'd rather get here like that than I had with one more win."
The challenge now is meeting those expectations in the second half of the season. The Cowboys have shown glimpses of being a playoff contender, as evidenced by their 37-10 win against Philadelphia before the bye week.
Jones is confident his team can provide more performances like that, though they haven't been able to do that consistently just yet.
"I think that we have the potential. I don't think the way that we have played so far will get us there, on balance – the good and the bad," he said.
Monday night provides the first opportunity, and it's ironic it will come in the same building the Cowboys suffered their lowest point of the season so far. But with a chance to rest and regroup, Jones thinks his team is capable of playing up to its billing.
"Yeah, I think we've got a chance to get in the playoffs, and if we do and we're healthy, I think we've got a chance to advance," he said.