IRVING, Texas -- When Jerry Jones looked at the Dallas Cowboys' roster this past January, he saw a team capable of competing for a Super Bowl.
It's important to note that Jones' definition of competing for a Super Bowl is merely qualifying for the playoffs, which is technically accurate.
But the Cowboys' owner and general manager convinced himself that his team could have done what the New York Giants did if only it had left MetLife Stadium on New Year's Day the victor in the de facto NFC East title game. Or if only a couple of plays here or there had turned out differently. Or if the Cowboys had not suffered injuries to key players.
So Jones entered 2012 believing the Cowboys were ready to close the gap with major tweaks to the secondary and minor tweaks to the offensive line when you factor in only the economics of the moves made to acquire Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings.
Jones was fooled.
On his Tuesday morning radio show on KRLD-FM, Jones acknowledged that mathematically, the 5-6 Cowboys are still alive for the playoffs, leaving unsaid that realistically the team does not look ready to roll off five straight wins to perhaps get in the tournament.
He also said the final five games of the season can serve as an evaluation period.
"You want to be playing well so you can basically look at your core and see where you are with your core and evaluate your core as far as seasons to come," Jones said.
Here's where Jones can't be fooled again: effort.