With all respect to those who continue to discuss and condemn Dez Bryant's decision to leave the field before the loss to Green Bay was final, there are more important issues that the Dallas Cowboys face.

The first is what Bryant and other key players do on the field in these final two games.

Jason Garrett's strategic disconnect with the running game, Bill Callahan's play-calling and the lack of quality linebackers who can walk and tackle are talking points heading into Sunday's game against Washington. But if the Cowboys are to right themselves after two crushing defeats, if they are to return to the playoffs after a three-year absence, it will be because their star players step up and carry them.

"The trend's not going to continue because we're going to do what we need to do," Bryant vowed. "We're going to do what we need to do. This whole group in this locker room, we believe and we're going to keep working."

Tony Romo's importance in the last two games is evident. Jason Witten's consistency is unquestioned. The same can be said for DeMarco Murray over the last five games when the coaching staff deigns to call his number and hand him the ball.

This is more about the other players who must rise to the occasion. Bryant tops the list.

Some will question Bryant's inclusion since he's coming off a game when he caught 11 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. He's the group's most dominant offensive force.

But Bryant had gone six straight games without a 100-yard performance before Sunday's game against the Packers. The coaching staff must find ways to get the ball into the hands of the team's most dangerous threat.

Another receiver must relieve the double-team pressure Bryant draws. It doesn't matter if it's veteran Miles Austin or rookie Terrance Williams. But their lack of production in recent games can't continue. Austin has six catches for 89 yards in the last four games and Williams has 13 for 169 yards in the last six.

Any chance the defense has to contribute starts with DeMarcus Ware. The defensive end was unable to get to Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn even though the Packers let a rookie tackle handle the Pro Bowl defender without help for most of the afternoon.

Ware has just two sacks over the last 11 games. Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher has just two sacks and four quarterback pressures since Nov. 1.

"We have a lot of history with these guys and we've done a lot of great things,'' Garrett said. "We have a tremendous amount of belief in them as people and players."

Great things? Does Garrett need to be reminded that the Cowboys have missed the playoffs the last three seasons and no one on the current roster has more than one playoff victory with the team?

"We're confident in our group,'' he declared.