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Mailbag: How Do Offensive Line Issues Affect The Final Roster?
Assuming the Cowboys only keep two QB, do you think the fourth RB and the fourth TE (and a sixth WR) would be more valuable to keep than a tenth OL player? Are there even nine OL for the active roster that are better than the depth players at the skill positions?
David: There’s been a good bit of conversation about that on the staff since Phillip Tanner had his big night against Miami. Personally, I think you want four running backs and four tight ends. With the commitment to improving the running game, you want all the different skillsets those guys have to offer. And in order to improve the running game as much as possible, you want the extra tight end to help block. Earlier this summer I would have said I’d keep a sixth receiver, as well. But considering the issues with offensive line health, I’m starting to think maybe five wideouts is enough.
Nick: That’s a lot of numbers there. I think all this talk is great, but don’t forget the Cowboys still have to play as many preseason games as every other team in the league, other than the Dolphins. I mean, who thought Selvie would be in the mix right now? He played well the other night. The point is, we’ll see a lot of other players step up or step down here in a few weeks. It’s nice to speculate but still early. As for the number of OL, I think the Cowboys will probably keep 9 or 10. If they’re not good enough now, they’ll add some from other teams.
PARK RIDGE, NJ
It was nice to see the rotation of running backs play with such aggression and power in the Hall of Fame game. How much of this can Gary Brown be credited with?
David: At the end of the day, no running backs coach is going to open the hole for a back. But to a man, all of the Cowboys’ running backs have credited Brown with staying on them and preaching effort during the offseason. You can hear Brown’s trademark phrase, “finish,” loud and clear at every practice. I still think there’s limitations to what coaching can accomplish when you’re relying on raw speed to make the right plays, but Brown’s all-out mindset appears to have carried over to his ballcarriers.
Nick: I tend to think if four or five things happen together, it’s not a coincidence. So the fact all of the backs ran well, I think you should give some credit to Brown. I like the way he conducts practice. He’s got a ton of passion. Again, it’s early in the process but I do like the way the backs are running.