IRVING, Texas – With the New York Giants' victory on Monday night, the Cowboys (4-9) now trail their three NFC East foes by a full two games with three left in the regular season.
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones knows playoff hopes suffered in Week 14 with the rest of the division winning and the Cowboys losing 28-7 to the Packers. But he reiterated Tuesday that the team has no intention of resting star receiver Dez Bryant, who has dealt with injuries during the season.
The Cowboys play against the Jets at home Saturday night, mathematically still in the diviison race.
"Shut him down? No, not at all," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. "He'll be a very important part of what we initiate and what we hope we're still doing in the second half and hopefully through the end of the ball game."
Bryant missed five games earlier this season following foot surgery and also dealt with a sore knee upon his return to the lineup in November.
In eight games – including all of 11 quarters with Tony Romo, who has missed most of the season with a fractured collarbone – Bryant has 27 catches for 351 yards and two touchdowns. In Sunday's loss at Green Bay, he caught a season-low one pass for nine yards and lamented a couple of drops at rainy Lambeau Field.
Jones said he's "not at all" concerned about Bryant's health. One challenge Bryant has faced all year is finding a rhythm without much practice time since the spring.
He missed the team's offseason program while negotiating his long-term contract, then missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, then broke his foot in the season opener against the Giants.
"I'm not so sure the foot is an issue apart from the fact that it limited him very early in the season and training camp and of course the way we were involved in our negotiations during the spring," Jones said. "In my mind, it is completely related to lack of practice, repetition.
"Dez is a passionate player. He's a passionate practice player. But he just hasn't had enough of it to cope with what we need him to be doing right now. Now, that was an aberration in my mind in Green Bay."