FRISCO - Virtually nothing is going right at this moment for Jerry Jones' Dallas Cowboys, from the mourning of the death of a staff member to the infinitely more mundane issue of failing to win football games to the injuries and ineptitude that has created this 3-8 record.
And yet ..,
Tanking, owner Jones says, "is really not a decision here.''
Jones appeared on 105.3 The Fan after Thursday's 41-16 loss to the Washington Football Team and - after having earlier in the year acknowledged the late-season possibility of bowing to failure (and the higher NFL Draft pick in April via what around here we call "Organic Tanking'') - took a rather bold stance about accepting losses.
"Let me be real clear here,'' Jones said, "and I'm not offended by the conversation at all, and I understand what you're talking about. (But) that's just not going to be the case.''
Incredibly, even with its awful record, Dallas remains in the NFC East title chase, and therefore, the NFL Playoffs chase. The Cowboys are coming off a 16-point output from the offense while continuing to struggle on defense, with a unit that ranks last in points allowed per game at 32.6. They've also been plagued by dubious decisions made by new coach Mike McCarthy and his staff.
And maybe most of all, they've been plagued by injuries, with QB Dak Prescott's season ending in Week 5 with ankle surgery, and now offensive lineman Zack Martin out for a month with a calf problem, and well, lots of guys in between.
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What's the likely outcome here? Jerry will have spoken the truth, in the sense that the Cowboys are not going to go to Baltimore for a Monday, Dec. 7 afternoon outing on national TV, and "lose on purpose.'' Nor will they do so against any other upcoming opponents ... at least not until they get to the final two games of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. At that point, the jostling for playoff position might be more clear - as will the jostling for NFL Draft position.
In any event, no matter what Jerry Jones decrees, the Cowboys' performance in 2020 suggests that they don't need to "lose on purpose'' ... because they're so unlikely to be able to "win on purpose.''