Jerry Jones: ‘We ended up on top where we wanted to be’
The Dallas Cowboys want to treat the regular-season finale like they would any other game.
They want to play to win. But with their playoff position already cemented, the outcome against the New York Giants (5-10) at noon Sunday means nothing.
So head coach Jason Garrett and his staff will have to balance the cautious approach with a wild card game looming on Jan. 5 or 6 and wanting to finish the regular season on a positive note.
“It’s a challenge you have when you make it into the playoffs prior to the last game,” Garrett said. “From the outside, people will say there’s nothing to gain from this game. But, to us, it’s just about going to work this week and practicing the right way and going to play the right way.”
Another inconsistent offensive performance in the 27-20 in over the Tampa Bay Bucs gave them plenty of stuff to work on against the Giants, but it’s a good bet most of their cornerstone players won’t see any second-half action in the Meadowlands.
[It’s about] trying to getting better, not only on offense, but on defense and in the kicking game,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to improve our team.”
Of course, any players nursing injuries aren’t likely to see the field, Garrett added.
“But for the most part, everybody else, we’re going to prepare as well as we can prepare and go play the best game we can play up there in New York on Sunday,” he said.
Here’s an overview of the status for current Cowboys dealing with injuries:
LB Sean Lee: Sean Lee was a healthy scratch against the Bucs. Garrett said Lee had no hamstring setbacks last week. But with the injury to Anthony Brown, the roster spot was better served, Garrett said, by adding running back Darius Jackson for kickoffs to allow cornerback Jourdan Lewis healthy. Lee wasn’t going to play more than 10 or 12 snaps anyway, he said.
“We were going to play him in a very similar fashion as lst week,” Garrett said of Lee’s seven snaps against the Colts, his first game back in five weeks. “We just felt like those snaps were more valuable than Sean’s 10-12 snaps he might get.”
OL Zack Martin: The All-Pro right guard returned to the startling lineup after missing the Colts game. Garrett praised Martin’s play against Tampa Bay. “It was so great to have him back out there,” he said. “He not only does his job but he makes the people around him better. His impact is significant.”
Martin, who has played with a sprained knee for almost two months, is doing ell, Garrett said. “We’ll see how he progresses as the week goes on,” he said.
DL Tyrone Crawford: He’s doing well after leaving Sunday’s game with a scary-looking neck injury. All tests have been negative and Garrett said Crawford was The Star facility Monday in Frisco and was walking and functioning normally. He’s day to day, Garrett said.
CB Anthony Brown: He been out with back spasms and did not play Sunday. He’s likely to be unavailable against the Giants. The Cowboys signed C.J. Goodwin off the practice squad to bolster cornerback depth and released receiver Lance Lenoir to make room. Garrett said they hope to sign Lenoir to the practice squad. “They don’t think theres structural damage but backs are funny and whatever got him to that point where he wasn’t really functional is real,” Garrett said of Brown. “We just have to see where he is. Sounds like he’s been doing better in the last few days.”
WR Tavon Austin: He’s’ been out since a Oct. 5 with a groin injury but is close to returning. He’s been practicing with the team for several weeks and is likely to be available Sunday. “He’s definitely a player,” Garrett said. “We’ve been trying to work him back into practice the last few weeks and I think he’s feeling better and better. Hopefully, we can get him ready to play in this ball game.”
Garrett said Austin would be the kind of player they’d prefer get some playing time before the playoffs instead of being overly cautious.
“We want to get him back and get him some game action,” he said. “We’re not going to put him in harm’s way but we’d love to see him out there this week.”
TE Geoff Swaim: He’s expected to get the cast off his left arm next week after breaking, dislocating and tearing ligaments in his left wrist against the Falcons on Nov. 18. Unless the Cowboys reach the NFC Championship game, it’s unlikely he’ll be available again this season.