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Jerry Jones: Cowboys ‘shouldn’t have had the record that we had this year’

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Friday expressed discouragement with the team’s disappointing season but nevertheless conveyed optimism for the future.

The Cowboys (8-7) are playing out the string with Sunday’s showdown with the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles having been eliminated from postseason contention with last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Jones dismisses the notion, however, that Sunday’s game is meaningless.

“I think 9-7 is important to us. I mean that. I really mean it,” Jones said Friday morning on KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan, as transcribed by SportsDay. “The draft position between 9-7 and 8-8 is not going to make that kind of difference in my mind relative to everybody feeling good about what we do and the performance that we have up there.

“The premium will be on each individual and each coach doing the job that we would have liked to have had this team do all yearlong. We’re going to go up and compete.”

Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s season finale, Jones insists the Cowboys should have fared better, especially coming off a 13-3 campaign in 2016.

“We have a team that I have a lot of promise for,” Jones added. “Talent-wise on defense, we’ve made some significant improvement over the last two years and we have a chance for these young players to really be contributors in the secondary, I’m pleased with Jaylon Smith, I’m pleased with some of these down linemen we’ve got.

“With that in mind, our future does look bright. However, we’ve got to sit down and really evaluate every competitive situation that we have, not just within the team, but outside the team and we will do that. We’ll sit down and get better. We have all the room in the world to get better. We shouldn’t have had the record that we had this year.”

Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension without question was a setback for the Cowboys. Jones previously mentioned Elliott’s suspension may have aided Dak Prescott’s development. All told, perhaps all these factors is why Jones already has all but confirmed Jason Garrett will be back next season.