ARLINGTON, Texas – Jerry Jones made a coaching change during his team's bye week.
After a performance like this one, the Cowboys' owner and general manager was asked if he had any more in mind.
"Again, I don't want to go down the list at anything. I'm not anticipating any more coaching changes," Jones said in the wake of the Cowboys' 28-14 loss to Tennessee.
To be perfectly clear, these were bigger questions than the Cowboys' decision to fire offensive line coach Paul Alexander during the off week. After the Cowboys lost to the Titans to fall to 3-5 on the season, while putting up 297 yards and 14 points in the process, the line of questioning was whether Jones would be willing to move on from head coach Jason Garrett or offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
"No," Jones said.
It would honestly have been surprising to hear Jones say anything else. As frustrating as the Cowboys have been, their 3-5 record is hardly the type of performance that typically necessitates a coaching change.
Having said that, Jones was straightforward when asked about his team's struggles throughout the first half of this season.
"After eight games, when you've won three, that's cause for concern. You have to recognize reality," he said. "But more importantly, what I recognize is not so much the three wins and five losses, but the way we played this game. We have to play better."
It's fair to call that an understatement. The Cowboys surged out of the locker room looking like a team that wanted to make a statement on Monday night, racking up 105 yards and three trips to the red zone in their first three possessions.
The problem was what happened once they got to the red zone, as Brett Maher missed a 38-yard field goal and Dak Prescott threw a misguided interception in the end zone. From there, the Cowboys never found their rhythm again and managed just one more scoring drive the rest of the way.
"We didn't see this coming," Jones said. "We did have a lot of time to prepare. We had a lot of time to get ready and make changes to give us a better shot than this. If you will, this is a step back for us."
If there are no changes on the horizon, it'll instead be on the Cowboys to get back to the drawing board – and it isn't lost on Jones that arguably the toughest stretch of the Cowboys' schedule awaits them. Back-to-back road trips to Philadelphia and Atlanta are up next, and two big home tilts against Washington and New Orleans wait beyond that.
With that in the back of his mind, Jones was pretty clear about what needs to happen going forward.
"Had we played a lot better tonight and had the loss, then I would be more positive about that," he said. "We've got to play better. We're not in anything if we don't play better. We have to play better."