Jerry Jones acknowledges 'uphill battle'

ARLINGTON, Texas – Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, the eternal optimist, was pragmatic when he addressed the crowd at the team’s kickoff luncheon at AT&T Stadium that benefits the Happy Hill Farm.

Instead of alluding to possible Super Bowl dreams, Jones told the players in his address to the crowd, that “our back's up against the wall.”

Coming off three straight 8-8 seasons and winless so far in the preseason, the Cowboys' expectations have not been this low since the team went through three straight 5-11 seasons in 2000-02. But Jones kept thinking a Super Bowl was just around the corner.

“You know that we have an uphill battle this year,” Jones said, “and we do have an uphill battle. 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.”

But will it be enough to change the fortunes and expectations?

At the luncheon, Tyron Smith and DeMarco Murray were named the 2013 offensive MVPs, while Barry Church and Dwayne Harris took home to defensive and special teams’ honors. Church was officially named as the Cowboys’ Ed Block Courage Award winner for his efforts last season after coming back from a torn Achilles.

Danny White was named the Legends Award winner.

With the preseason finale Thursday against the Denver Broncos, Wednesday’s luncheon was a reminder regular-season football is not far off.

“This is always a fun day but it symbolizes football is starting up for real,” tight end Jason Witten said. “There’s always a lot of excitement when you come to this luncheon.”

But this time Jones was more than willing to temper the expectations.