Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the media on Aug. 27 that the team will be "facing an uphill battle" during the 2014 NFL season.
Jerry Jones says the Dallas Cowboys are "facing an uphill battle" in 2014.
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This was what Jones told David Helman of the Cowboys' official website on Aug. 27:
"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 one 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.
"'This 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 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 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, Sunday night, Monday night -- here at AT&T Stadium of wherever the hell we play. We're going to fight.'"
In other team news, former Dallas defensive end DeMarcus Ware -- now with the Denver Broncos -- told Rowan Kavner of the team's official website on Aug. 26 he wants to retire a Cowboy:
"DeMarcus Ware thought he'd always be a Dallas Cowboy. Now that he's gone, the Cowboys' all-time sacks leader hope he hasn't seen his last days with the team.
"Ware said in a conference call Tuesday that he's spoken with owner/general manager Jerry Jones about the Ring of Honor and eventually retiring with the team that drafted him in the first round in 2005.
"'You know, before, and just talking to Jerry, we talked about that,' Ware said. 'He's just like, 'You know what, I want you to be able to come back here and retire as a Dallas Cowboy.' That's a big goal of mine.'
"Ware won't be playing in the fourth preseason game. But this Thursday marks the first time he'll be an opponent to the Cowboys after parting ways this offseason in a move that surprised Ware, despite a flurry of injuries limiting his production his last couple seasons with in Dallas.
"'I thought I was always going to be a Dallas Cowboy,' Ware said. 'That was really, really big for me. I played well for nine years, so I never thought they would get rid of me.'
"Ware, who went to seven Pro Bowls and compiled 117 sacks in nine seasons with the Cowboys, and gone through multiple contract restructures, leading to a hefty $16 million cap hit in 2014. After compiling 11.5 sacks in 2012, he followed with just six in 2013. A horde of injuries, particularly to his elbow, shoulder, quad and back, and an expensive cap figure led to Ware's release.
"He said even after the release that the Cowboys were always the top consideration for him, since that's his home. But things didn't work out after the two sides failed to reach an agreement, and it didn't take long for him to land in Denver. Ware said he split with the Cowboys amicably, and that's when it was time to test the market.
"'At the end of the day, everything is a business,' Ware said. 'There some back and forth transactions, but it just didn't worko out the right way with the things and numbers worked out. You know, glad that I got another opportunity to still play ball. You just keep going. I played for a great organization with the Dallas Cowboys, and that'll always be home for me.'
"Ware admitted it felt at odd at first donning a different uniform, but he had to get used to it after a while. It's strange to see even for Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, who said he admired how physically and mentally tough Ware was to continue to put his body on the line consistently, despite the injuries he dealt with."
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