Jerry Jones Optimistic

After an electric offseason, the Cowboys appear to be on the verge of making a playoff run.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is not ready to predict a playoff trip and a possible Super Bowl run.

At least not yet.

He's sort of learned his lesson on that from past transgressions. Like in 2001 when he predicted the Cowboys to go 10-6 only to see the team sputter to a 5-11 record.

Nevertheless, it's safe to say Jones is very optimistic about the Cowboys' chances in 2005. And furthermore, he believes in coach Bill Parcells more than ever.

And his belief that Parcells can make the Cowboys bona fide contenders this season, despite last season's 6-10 mark, is backed up by his actions in free agency and the draft.

Jones and Parcells went into the offseason with a win-now philosophy.

That was most evident in free agency, upgrading their talent base with six key veterans: quarterback Drew Bledsoe, defensive tackle Jason Ferguson, cornerback Anthony Henry, offensive guard Marco Rivera, cornerback Aaron Glenn and running back Anthony Thomas.

Add in what they did in the draft -- namely the first round additions of linebacker Demarcus Ware and defensive end Marcus Spears -- and the Cowboys are a much better team on paper than they were at the end of last season. Jones knows as much.

"This is the best offseason of opportunity I can remember having all these tools to reshape our team," said Jones. "We could be a really different team than how we ended the season with the Giants."

Many of the defensive holes that were present last year should be long gone by the time the team opens the 2005 season in San Diego on Sept. 11.

Lack of pressure on the quarterback? That delimma should be solved by the eventual switch to the 3-4, and the addition of Ware, Spears, and Ferguson to the front seven.

Problems opposite cornerback Terence Newman? How about the acquisition of one of the biggest corners in the league in Anthony Henry, not to mention veteran playmaker Aaron Glenn.

Offensively, the Cowboys added immediate help at quarterback by acquiring Drew Bledsoe, immediate help on the offensive line by signing G Marco Rivera, and a solid back up for Julius Jones by signing Anthony Thomas.

Can the offseason actually get any better?

Although he might not be saying it directly, Jerry Jones, and the rest of the Cowboys' faithful expect nothing less than a run to the playoffs.

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