IRVING, Texas (AP) — The season that once looked so promising for the Dallas Cowboys is halfway done.
After losses in four of their last five games, the Cowboys (3-5) have plenty of work to do just to have another .500 season. As for any chance of making the playoffs, that already seems like a big stretch because only one NFC team has won fewer games than Dallas at this point.
No matter how the situation is described — coach Jason Garrett prefers "urgency" and despises the term "desperation" — the Cowboys have clearly faltered since kicking off the entire NFL season with a victory at the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants two months ago.
"Obviously we didn't expect to be 3-5," tight end Jason Witten said Thursday. "At this point where we're at, it's tough to swallow. You've got to change it."
Stephen Jones, the team's executive vice president and the owner's son, said the Cowboys have "absolutely" underachieved.
"I just think it's urgent. We need to win a game," Jones said. "We can do a lot for our season if we can get this one."
Dallas starts the second half of its season Sunday at Philadelphia (3-5), which will be trying to avoid its first five-game losing streak in coach Andy Reid's 14 years.
After that, the Cowboys have three home games in a 15-day span, including their Thanksgiving Day game against Washington (3-6), the only team below them in the NFC East standings. They play five of six overall at home, including Pittsburgh — the only remaining opponent that currently has a winning record.
"We have played the hardest part of our schedule," said Jones, speaking to reporters during the open portion of practice. "We had higher expectations than this. We are disappointed with our record. We have to play better, we have to finish. The bottom line at the end of the day, you are what you are. We are 3-5. We have to improve."
Despite the disappointment with the season so far, Jones reiterated that the organization is pleased with foundation that Garrett is setting for long-term success.
Jones said he "won't even comment" on speculation about the future for Garrett, who is 16-16 since replacing Wade Garrett midway through the 2010 season.
"That's ridiculous," Jones added.
Former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, during a radio interview on the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday, said he felt Garrett "is probably coaching for his job for the rest of the year."