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Mailbag: Will The Play Action Game Pick Up Next Year?
PARK RIDGE, NJ
We didn't do many play-action passes this year due to the fact that defenses did not fear our running game. Do you think we can expect to see more play-action passes next season?
Nick: I would expect that if they can run the ball better. If you noticed, once Murray returned, we saw more play-action success. But you’re exactly right – defenses didn’t respect the run and therefore the safeties aren’t going to jump down on the fake, especially with the talented receivers the Cowboys had on the outside.
Rowan: Depends if they can get the running game going. Even if it doesn’t get going to the degree they’d like, running the ball more should open up the play-action game. I’m surprised the team didn’t try to use the play-action more often, because it seemed to work once Murray returned. But undoubtedly a strong running game would help that out, and I expect a backup running back to be addressed in the draft, if not in free agency.
Should the Cowboys be investing in experienced 4-3 guys instead of bringing back guys like Spencer?
Nick: I think you’re forgetting why Spencer was a first-round pick. He was pretty good at Purdue in the 4-3. And he stops the run well – leading the team in tackles this past year. I think Spencer might be a better fit in a 4-3 scheme then a 3-4.
Rowan: Just because someone’s played the 3-4 longer doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a better fit in that scheme. We’ll find out if that’s the case with Spencer, but I expect he’d be able to handle the switch. But it is more of a risk, since the Cowboys would know more of what they’re getting with a player who’s been in the 4-3 system longer.