IRVING, Texas - Dallas owner Jerry Jones says coach Jason Garrett will return in 2014 regardless of whether the Cowboys end a three-year playoff drought this season.
Jones said Thursday he's "disappointed" the Cowboys don't have a better record as they get ready for an important NFC East game against the New York Giants on Sunday.
But the owner says his coach has Dallas positioned to win the division and reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
"Now, that's a pretty good spot to be in after 10 games," said Jones, addressing about a dozen reporters on the team's practice field. "A lot of this story is to be played out. It does not have a bearing on whether or not he will be our coach next year. It has no bearing on that."
Asked if Garrett would be his coach next year, Jones twice said yes.
Dallas is 5-5, a half-game behind idle Philadelphia in the division. The Cowboys are trailing in the NFC East for the first time this season. The Giants (4-6) have won four straight after an 0-6 start.
The Cowboys finish the regular season at home against the Eagles. They have a lost a playoffs-or-bust finale to a division rival each of Garrett's two full seasons since he replaced Wade Phillips in the middle of a disastrous 2010 campaign.
"I'm disappointed we don't have a better record, but he has got us in position to win the division and got a team here I firmly believe has the ability to be one of the better playing teams at the end," Jones said.
Jones made a similar statement at the start of training camp in July, saying he didn't believe this was an "Armageddon" year for Garrett, who is 21-19 in his first 50 games.
The Cowboys had their worst game in two-plus seasons under Garrett in a 49-17 loss to New Orleans before last week's bye. The Cowboys had less than 200 total yards for the first time in a game that Tony Romo started and finished. And the league's worst defense gave up more than 600 yards for the second time in three weeks. Dallas had never done that in franchise history.
The Cowboys fell out of first place during the bye when Philadelphia beat Washington. And the sudden surge by the Giants means they can tie Dallas for second place with a win when their season was all but over a month ago.
Dallas is still in a favorable position with a 3-0 division record, but a loss to New York would be its third in four games. Still, Jones doesn't want to call Sunday's game a must for his team.
"Just how we see at any time how another team can win," Jones said. "When you look at our division opponents and who they are playing and you look at who we've got to play, it's hard to measure from here."