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Cowboys VP Jones insists father's priority is to win

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The Dallas Cowboys enter the offseason under the microscope yet again after getting knocked out of the playoffs, marking the 23rd straight year the Cowboys haven't advanced to the NFC Championship Game.

Grumblings from critics -- media and fans -- continue to grow that perhaps Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is content with the status quo, which includes a report of a potential extension for head coach Jason Garrett, and not winning.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, however, defended his father Thursday, saying it is "laughable" to believe the team owner covets money over securing another Super Bowl championship.

"It's a joke," Stephen Jones said during a guest appearance on 105.3 The Fan, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. "Nothing burns hotter in his belly than wanting to win a championship. I think he's on record saying, he would give up [being inducted into] the Hall of Fame in a second to have another Lombardi Trophy. No one is burning the candle at both ends more than Jerry. He's far from being content in terms of where we are as a football team.

"You have some tough decisions to make every year in terms of what is best for the team. I can tell you, no one is content around there. He challenges everybody. I just laugh when I hear something like that."

The Cowboys, who haven't won a Super Bowl since the 1995 season, placed themselves in position to make a postseason by finishing the regular season with a 10-6 record to secure the NFC East title after a 3-5 start. The postseason appearance marked the third time Dallas advanced beyond the regular season under Garrett, who has a 77-59 record in nine seasons with the Cowboys.

Garrett has also guided the Cowboys to three divisional titles in the past five years, but critics will often point out the Cowboys' failure to advance in the postseason under Garret is less than desirable.

Nevertheless, Garrett has the backing of the team owner, and the head coach deserves credit for the Cowboys turning around the season despite the slow start and for dealing with a patchwork offensive line.

The team has personnel decisions to make ahead of the league's new calendar year, of course, and securing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who played the past season under a franchise tag, should be high on the team's priority list.

But the Cowboys have a good foundation with quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, wide receiver Amari Cooper and a top defensive unit, which includes a stout linebacker group anchored by Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch.

Now, the Cowboys must build on the 2018 season.

"We have to improve on this season and take the next step," Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. "We can't go backwards here like we've done in the past when we have a playoff year and then don't make the playoffs.

"We have to not only get back [to the playoffs], but we got to take the next step. That's going to be our battle cry as we work through improving this football team and making things better."

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