Jones: Cowboys can compete for title

INDIANAPOLIS – With three straight 8-8 finishes, a team that will need to release players or reconfigure contracts to get under the cap and an aging core with Tony Romo coming off back surgery, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones sees only the good.

“Even though we have cap problems this year,” Jones said, “we have chance to compete for a Super Bowl.”

I trust that you have removed your hand from your forehead to continue reading. Near the end of the two-hour session inside his bus on Sunday, I asked Jones how he would define competing for a championship. Is it simply making the playoffs? Something else?

He spoke about a story with 60 Minutes a few years ago and how he rolled through some stop signs on a trip through Little Rock. It’s not that he did not see the signs, but he knew the roads so well that he did not need to come to a complete stop.

“You could probably say that if not seeing the stop signs means denial, then I’m in denial,” Jones said. “The facts are that I see them, but I don’t see them. I know why they are there. I’m talking about the 8-8, but I don’t see them.”

The Cowboys fielded the worst defense in the NFL in 2013 and could lose their leading sacker, Jason Hatcher, to free agency. They could be forced to part ways with the franchise’s all-time leading sacker in DeMarcus Ware.

“I think we’ve got work to do on defense, serious work to do on defense,” Jones said. “I think we’ve got the players and the horses to be a heckuva offense, productive, one of the top offensive teams. I think we are there right now. Right now on offense … We’re going to have to really get on the horse to get is a defense. That’s better than (Seattle’s)? I don’t know. I can’t say that.”