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Jerry Jones Raises the Heat on the Cowboys

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    It's easier to find a needle in a haystack than confidence in the Cowboys right now, which makes the latest from Jerry Jones stick out even more than usual. 

    You can't ignore Jones, both because he's the owner and because he always seems to be within inches of a microphone he uses to make sweeping proclamations about the state of his Cowboy empire. And he made just one of those during a radio appearance this week. 

    "We know that you want your team as healthy and as in sync as it can be as we get on in to the end of the season. We know that we've played one division game and won it. We've got those guys, the Giants, coming back in here," Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. "We know that’s going to be a big game for us. All of those things give us a chance to take a team that is evolving into -- if you look at the pluses yesterday -- evolving into a team that can be a team that can compete for the championship. Not next year, this year."

    We're not going to delve into the Cowboys' championship chances because, frankly, there's no reason to open that can of worms at this point in the season. As the Giants and Packers have proven the last two years, you don't win the Super Bowl in October and both of those teams suffered through losses as bad or worse than the one in Baltimore that's gotten everyone so worked up this week. 

    What's more significant is the way that Jones has turned up the heat on Jason Garrett, the rest of the coaches and the players. After all of the talk about closing windows this offseason, Jones has made it clear that nothing has changed on the expectation meter because the team lost three of their first five games. 

    Realistic Super Bowl chances or not, that's exactly the right message to send to the team. This isn't the start of a three-year building campaign designed to land the team in the playoffs, it's the third year of Garrett's tenure with a team that's been expected to achieve more than they have actually achieved. 

    Saying that it is okay to pull back on your goals because of adversity would be exactly the wrong message to send the team at this point. Urgency has to remain high because the team needs to feel like there are serious consequences for failure to do anything but their very best. 

    This team has gotten plenty of line from Jones. Now it's time to start reeling something in.