Can Jerry Jones watch Cowboys wobble much longer?

Jerry Jones has way too much riding on this season to sit back

and watch his Dallas Cowboys wobble much longer.

Should they lose again Sunday and sink to 0-3 in a season the

Super Bowl will be played at the sparkling new Cowboys Stadium, the

owner-general manager is bound to do something.

Maybe he would cut someone like struggling kicker David Buehler

to send the club a message about not tolerating mistakes. Jimmy

Johnson did that with a running back who fumbled twice in a

meaningless season finale; a month later, Jones won his first Super

Bowl title.

Maybe he’d decide being both head coach and defensive

coordinator is overwhelming Wade Phillips. Jones could ease that

burden by naming himself head coach. If Barry Switzer managed to

win Jones a third Super Bowl by staying out of the way of his

talented players, Jones might reckon he could pull that off,

too.

Heck, maybe Switzer is free the next few months.

The reality is that Jones is more likely to ride this out

without making drastic changes, at least unless things get much

worse.

As bad as it seems, Dallas is only one game behind in the NFC

East and there are 14 games left. Even if the Cowboys lose in

Houston on Sunday, they’d be no worse than two games back with 13

to go. They’d have to stew on that during a bye week, but Jones

could spin that as more time to work out the kinks.

”Everything in me is about being optimistic,” Jones said

Sunday, still flush with the agony of a 27-20 loss to Chicago in

the home opener. ”These losses can be mitigated.”

The stakes are higher than usual this season because the Super

Bowl is at Jones’ $1.2 billion playpen. Not only was he dreaming of

having the first team to play the Super Bowl in its home stadium,

others were doing it for him. Dallas was a chic pick among some to

win the NFC because it was coming off a division title and its

first playoff win since 1996.

It’s understandable to think Jones’ patience is wearing thin.

But firing Phillips would be out of character, even for a guy who

canned Johnson after winning two straight Super Bowls.

If Jones had an itchy trigger finger regarding Phillips, it made

more sense to fire him last season, when his contract was running

out. There was speculation last October that Jones would use the

bye week to break in a new coach, then again after consecutive

losses in December.

Phillips ended up being signed through next season.

Forget the money he’s owed. The lesson is that Jones – who has

changed coaches six times, but never during a season – has made it

clear he likes working with Phillips. It’s also worth noting

Phillips is Dallas’ first successful coach since Switzer who gladly

allows Jones to run things his way.

Phillips said Monday the fear of getting fired is not what

drives him to solve problems like his defense having zero turnovers

and just two sacks.

”It’s my own pride in myself and working at what I do and

trying to do better,” he said. ”We went 11-5 in Houston (as an

assistant under his dad, Bum Phillips) and we’d just been to the

AFC championship game two years in a row. We lost a playoff game

and they fired us. I thought I was doing a good job.

”From then on I didn’t judge myself on those things, I judged

myself on how hard I worked at it and what I tried to do.”

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett’s job seems safe, too.

Jones hasn’t even hinted at being upset with his play-calling,

even though most fans are. They see Garrett using all sorts of

formations to try tricking defenses instead of getting really good

at a few plays and daring defenses to stop them.

Part of his approach is spreading the ball among a lot of

talented offensive players – or, at least, guys billed as

playmakers.

The offense, however, has scored just one touchdown in each

game. Tony Romo has made some pinpoint throws while blowing others

that are usually routine for him.

If Jones is going to suggest anything to anyone, he’d probably

tell Garrett to use Felix Jones more. However, Jones gained only 7

yards on seven carries last week.

Then there’s Buehler.

Jones was counting on last year’s dandy of a kickoff guy to make

field goals, too, but he’s missed game-tying attempts in both

games. He wasn’t even close on a 44-yarder that would’ve made it

20-all midway through the fourth quarter Sunday against the

Bears.

”My intuition is to be real patient there,” Jones said.

Jones could sign a veteran, but, as Phillips noted, there’s a

reason any veteran is unemployed right now. The Cowboys also don’t

want to give up too soon on Buehler after seeing what’s happened to

their last kicker, Nick Folk.

He is 5 of 5 for the Jets, having hit a 48-yarder in the opener

and a 49-yarder this past Sunday. It’s becoming obvious an injury

was behind his struggles last season.

Jones wishes Dallas’ problems this season were as easy to

diagnose.

AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.