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If you’ve watched the Dallas Cowboys for any length of time, you know that Jerry Jones always has high standards for his football team. That was true last season, and the club crumbled down the stretch; in 2020, however, things have gotten even worse. America’s Team currently sits at 2-7, tied for the worst record in the NFC East.

While Jerry Jones can’t be happy with the Cowboys’ performance, he also doesn’t seem to have accepted the reality of the current campaign. In fact, his comments about the NFL trade deadline seemed to suggest more denial than anything else.

Virtually everything has gone wrong for the 2020 Dallas Cowboys

When the 2020 NFL season began, it seemed like the Dallas Cowboys were in a decent spot: even if there were still some issues, they looked good enough to win an awful NFC East. In retrospect, though, that outlook may have been a bit optimistic.

At first, it looked like the Cowboys had a capable offense that was being hamstrung by a porous defense. That issue, however, has taken a backseat to quarterback problems.

Dak Prescott, of course, suffered a gruesome ankle injury during Week 5’s date with the New York Giants. He was replaced by Andy Dalton, who suffered a concussion in Week 7. That forced Ben DiNucci into action; after one poor performance, Garret Gilbert got his chance against the Steelers. While he played competent football, it’s hard to be too optimistic about a journeyman quarterback getting a bad team close to an upset before ultimately losing.

Jerry Jones explained why the Dallas Cowboys stood pat at the trade deadline

Leading up to the NFL trade deadline, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys would be sellers. While a few players did leave Texas, Jerry Jones didn’t make any major moves.

One positive about Jones, however, is that he’s never shy about finding a microphone or camera and sharing what’s on his mind. In this case, the Cowboys owner took to the radio airwaves to explain why he stood pat at the deadline.

“We did [receive some interesting phone calls], but, you know, I wouldn’t extend past the first two or three fingers on your hand. But we did,” Jones explained on 105.3’s K&C Masterpiece show, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Just as it would turn out it just didn’t work. We actually got into the weeds on two or three of them, and worked at it a little bit but saw that it wasn’t going to work.”

So why didn’t those moves work? Jones explained that the deals were more focused on the future than the 2020 campaign.

“They were more in the nature of the future, not so much as it would relate to what we’re doing in the next eight games here as we look beyond that. They were a little long-term. That’s all I want to say about that.”

Jerry Jones can’t seem to admit that he has a bad football team on his hands

From an emotional perspective, it’s understandable to cling to hope that the Dallas Cowboys can make the playoffs; given the state of the NFC East, it would only take a few wins to completely change everything. The problem, however, is that Jerry Jones isn’t an emotionally-invested fan. He’s supposed to be the owner and general manager acting in the best interests of the team.

Based on Jones’ comments—for better or worse, we can only take them at face value—he turned down trades because they would make the current team worse. When you’re 2-7, however, there isn’t much use to worrying about the present. Even if you think the 2020 season is a one-off aberration, rather than the beginning of the end, wouldn’t it be wise to make the best of a bad situation and bank some long-term assets?

That thinking, however, is nothing new for Jones. Ever since taking over the Cowboys, he’s wanted to prove that he’s the smartest guy in the room; if the team wins a championship, it has to be on his terms. That’s why, at least in recent years, Dallas has been left chasing its tail, too good to truly reset but too flawed to make a legitimate run at the title.

It’s cliche to say, but the first step to solving a problem is admitting that it exists. Unfortunately for Dallas Cowboys fans, Jerry Jones can’t seem to get past that initial obstacle.