DALLAS — Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is so excited about the opening week of the NFL season, he can't sleep.
"I popped up at 4:30 this morning," Jones said Tuesday morning on his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM. "Its just an exciting time to think we've got the team on the field we do."
Jones said he doesn't relate the word "identity" to his football team. While he's apparently not concerned that the team carry such a label, he does have a laundry list of improvements he'd like to see.
"We need to be sounder on defense than we've been in the past," he said. "We need to get the ball on offense in better field position. We need to protect the ball better on offense and we need to make some big plays. That'll identify you real quick."
And then the moment. Jones channeled his inner Al Davis, the dearly departed former owners of the Oakland Raiders.
"What we need to do is win some games," Jones said. "There's your identity; that identity thing follows your winning and losing."
Just win baby.
Jones, the master hope seller and sunshine pumper, said he looks forward to seeing if the off-season changes he's implemented will result in on-field success. Over the last two seasons, the Cowboys were the epitome of mediocrity, going 16-and-16 and ending each season with a division-winner, take-all game loss.
"I don't know if it's extra, but boy do I feel it, feel pressure because we haven't met our expectations," Jones said. "These last two years have been, arguably right there maybe with one other, the most disappointing years in my career with the Cowboys. So, we need[ed] to make some changes. And we did and we have."
Jones stripped away the offensive play-calling duties from head coach Jason Garrett. Now, it's offensive coordinator Bill Callahan's turn to call the shots, presumably with more of an emphasis on running the ball. And Sunday, we'll see the unveiling of Monte Kiffin's new 4-3 defensive scheme.
"I do feel pressure, but we do that to ourselves," Jones said. "We basically shove it all out there and we put it all on the line every time we throw and I think that's the only way to go. Consequently, we have big swings; we have big disappointment when we don't get there."
So, will the Cowboys finally cash in or will it be more of the same disappointment that's become all too familiar? We'll begin to get an idea Sunday night in the game against the Giants.