ARLINGTON, Texas – Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones has a well-earned reputation for confident predictions – whether that means simple victories or championships.
It caused an understandable stir, then, when Jones appeared to temper preseason expectations Wednesday at the Cowboys' annual kickoff luncheon. In speaking to the entire Cowboys roster, assembled together on an on-field stage at AT&T Stadium, Jones said he knew the upcoming season would be a challenge.
"You know we've got an uphill battle this year, and we do have an uphill battle this year. But most of you had an uphill battle when you came to camp – most of you did. And some of you have absolutely rose to the occasion, some of you have taken the challenge on."
Jones didn't quite concede defeat, as he went on to say he expects his players to fight through and perform at the end of the season, when playoff positioning is on the line. But after three seasons of .500 finishes, Jones acknowledged what was on the line.
"This bunch and everybody in this organization knows that we've got our backs against the wall," he said.
With that in mind, though, Jones said he felt good about the Cowboys' situation, largely because of past experience. With three-straight years of multiple setbacks and high-stakes finishes, Jones said he's got confidence in coach Jason Garrett to lead an uphill battle.
"The individuals on this team individually have their backs to the wall, but the team doesn't," he said. "We've got a coach and we've got a staff that knows how to read and dance to that music. That's why I think we've got a chance to do it."
Garrett, who also spoke at the [embedded_ad]
luncheon, reiterated his mantra since the beginning of training camp – commemorated on a team T-shirt – he wants the team to fight.
"It's a simple message and it's an important one," he said. "I'm not one to make a lot of guarantees and a lot of predictions – I'm not going to do that here. But the one thing I'm will guarantee to everybody in this room is the 2014 Dallas Cowboys are going to fight.
"We're going to fight every day in practice, we're going to fight on Sunday afternoon, Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night – here at AT&T Stadium or wherever the hell we play. We're going to fight."