Jerry Jones Confident as Ever

With a 5-3 record at the midway point of the 2005 regular season, the Dallas Cowboys are confident the team is well on its way to turning around last year's dismal 6-10 campaign.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spent more than $52 million in signing bonuses and guaranteed money on offseason upgrades through the draft and free agency.

His goal was to make a quick turnaround from last season's 6-10 campaign and make a run at the playoffs in 2005.

Through eight games, Jones has proven to have made a wise investment, as the Cowboys (5-3) are second in the NFC East behind the Giants (5-2). They are tied for the conference lead in wins, giving them as good a shot as anyone to be a Super Bowl contender from the NFC.

"I think any time you have as many wins as anybody in the division you have certainly a chance," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "But it's not Thanksgiving yet. If we could put a couple more wins together here pretty quick, then you know you would at least be in it to the last month. That always gives you something to shoot for. But we're not really in that position yet."

Said Jones: "We have a feel for the other teams. We know how we stack up now. We feel we have a shot."

Jones credits the impact play from a strong rookie class led by linebacker Demarcus Ware and defensive end Marcus Spears. Free agent quarterback Drew Bledsoe and cornerback Anthony Henry have been huge hits on offense and defense, respectively.

"I have always believed in my ability to play this position, and with the way that this team is playing I expect to perform at a fairly consistent level," Bledsoe said. "Honestly, I expect to play better down the stretch."

The key to the Cowboys making a run in the second half is keeping Bledsoe protected and healthy.

The Cowboys are confident and believe they can compete with any team in the NFC right now.

"When we play well we can beat anyone," Bledsoe said. "The team has shown improvement through the first eight games. We are getting better from week to week and that's something you have to have. Those chances to really be a competitive team and be a championship team are fleeting, and you have to try to grab it every year."

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