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Mailbag: Most Realistic Solution For Fixing The Defense?
With all the injuries that all NFL teams are seeing, do you think it is time for the NFL to expand the roster size?
Nick: I would like to see that. I would also like to see expansion on the reserve/injured list. Right now they have an eight-week IR that teams can use once a season. I’d like to see a four-week one and maybe a few more. I know the pushbacks from the NFL would center on “stashing” players. But right now, you’ve got guys either trying to play through injuries when they’re not healthy, which violates the league’s stance on safety issues, or they’re simply going to IR because teams have no choice. And that’s eliminating good players from possibly sticking around for a playoff game or late-season push game simply because their team needed the spot in October.
David: I like the strategy that a limited roster creates – but only to a certain extent. Like Nick mentioned, it’s a shame when you see guys get shut down for the season simply because the team couldn’t wait a couple more weeks, or even worse, when a guy limps his way from game-to-game because he can’t afford to miss. The practice squad allows teams to use 61 players for practice during the week. I don’t really see why those eight spots can’t just become active roster spots. It would help the teams, and it would help dozens of fringe players. That said, I still think teams should have to cut down a bit on game day.
I can understand the problems on the defensive line because of the injuries, but the defensive backs are just unable to cover anybody. Do you see anything that can help this defense?
Nick: Yeah, I see the defensive line getting healthier and providing a better pass rush so the defensive backs can cover someone. That, and I do agree that more man and less zone coverage will help. But it only helps if you can get that pass rush.
David: DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher are the keys to improving the defense down the stretch, as far as I’m concerned. The Cowboys have totaled 17 sacks in their five wins and seven sacks in their five losses. If the opposing quarterback has time to find his man, the secondary is going to get shredded – I don’t care who’s back there. Find some production from the D-Line, and they might be OK. Ware and Hatcher need to help with that, or it could be a long December.