Cowboys owner preaches caution

Updated: November 28, 2009, 11:34 AM ET
By Calvin Watkins |

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones spoke to his team in the locker room about being cautious following Thursday's 24-7 victory against the Oakland Raiders at Cowboys Stadium.

Jones said he's happy with an 8-3 record and first place in the NFC East. Yet, Jones doesn't want his team to lose its edge with five games remaining in the regular season.

Jones said if the team maintains its focus, reaching the postseason for the second time in three seasons isn't out of the question.

"This is a time when there shouldn't be anybody smug, shouldn't be anybody feeling full of themselves by where we are," Jones said in a two-minute conversation with a small group of reporters as he walked toward his suite at Cowboys Stadium. "We should really sit down here and see because we may not, on an individual basis, ever get to be in a spot like this again. So, let's spend the next six weeks really blocking everything out as much as we can and zero in on the playoffs."

It's not unusual for Jones to speak with his team in the locker room after a game, but he normally waits for reporters to enter so he can speak with them as well. But Jones is serious about the tough stretch of games coming up. He knows some of his teams have failed in the past.

Those December failures were a topic of discussion in the locker room after the game.

Dallas went 1-3 in December last year, including a loss at Philadelphia in the regular-season finale that eliminated the Cowboys from playoff contention.

In 2007, Dallas went 2-2 but lost the regular-season finale at Washington 27-6. The Cowboys made the playoffs but were beaten by the New York Giants in the NFC divisional round.

In 2006, Dallas went 2-3 in December, losing the last two home games to Philadelphia and Detroit. But despite making the playoffs, the Cowboys lost in the wild-card round to Seattle.

"We have something to prove the next game, that's where we're going," coach Wade Phillips said. "I am happy we have won three in a row on Thanksgiving but we have more to accomplish."

Calvin Watkins covers the Houston Rockets and the NBA for He joined in September 2009. He's covered the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers as well as colleges, boxing and high school sports.