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Even with team at 6-6, Jerry Jones would bet on…

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Even with team at 6-6, Jerry Jones would bet on...

FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones calls it “the Ben Franklin exercise.”

He gets out a pad of paper, makes a dividing line, and lists the positives on the right and the negatives on the left, “and whichever side has got the most on it, that’s how you make your decision,” he said.

Despite the 26-15 Thanksgiving loss to the Buffalo Bills, which was the Cowboys’ sixth defeat in their past nine games, the positives for Jones still outweigh the negatives. He is dreaming — which might be the best way to describe it — of this team coming back from this low point to write one of the best chapters in franchise history.

“Positives are health. Positives are talent level that I have seen play without mistakes,” Jones said Thursday following the game. “That if they could be enhanced by turnovers, if they can be enhanced by certain things that happen in a football game … Have I never been a part of a team that have gotten on a run, four games, five games in a row?”

The good news that wide receiver Amari Cooper did not suffer any structural damage to his left knee is countered by the loss of left guard Connor Williams to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, so Jones is largely correct about the Cowboys’ health.

On the other hand, let’s look at the Cowboys’ talent. It has been said so often that Dallas has one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, and that is largely accepted as fact.

The names sound elite: Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Jason Witten, Cooper, Randall Cobb, DeMarcus Lawrence, Michael Bennett, Robert Quinn, Sean Lee, Leighton Vander Esch and Byron Jones have all played in a Pro Bowl.

Then there is the next tier of players. Jaylon Smith was considered a Pro Bowler-in-the-making when he signed his $64 million contract extension this summer. La’el Collins signed a $50 million extension in early September. Michael Gallup, Chidobe Awuzie, Xavier Woods and Maliek Collins are highly thought of players as well.

Prescott is having his best season, and Quinn and La’el Collins have exceeded expectations through 12 games.

But the rest?



Max Kellerman justifies his belief that Dak Prescott is not worth a big contract in this current era of overpaid quarterbacks.

Elliott has only two runs of more than 20 yards all season, and the offensive line has not been as good as perceived. The defensive line does not affect the quarterback enough. As a group, the linebackers have not been as good as they were last season. The secondary does not take the ball away, and the defense is on pace for a franchise-low five interceptions.

Jason Garrett and the coaching staff have caught the brunt of the criticism. Jones has lauded the roster composition but said the Cowboys’ 6-6 record has him thinking.

“Generally, when we’ve played teams that are executing and performing better, we haven’t played as well. That has to impact how talented you think we are,” Jones said. “I think it’s very logical to me that anybody in sports would look at us and say, ‘I question where their talent is.’ Y’all are talking about it. I question some of it. That’s fair. That’s really fair.”

Here’s where Jones veers into default mode:

“But I’m going to say this: With the players we have and what they have shown across the board — offense, defense, kicking field goals,” he said, “I think we’ve got a chance to get on a run here and still do something special.”

One agent, who represents Pro Bowl players as well as coaches and management types, believes the Cowboys have a roster that is among the top five in the NFL. An NFC personnel executive said the roster is littered with talent but maybe not as top-end as some believe, though certainly “good enough to win 10 games.”

Yet here the Cowboys are with a .500 record.

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