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Mailbag: Could D-Line’s Lack Of Size Affect LB Injuries?

Posted Jan 10, 2013

SHERMAN SWAFFORD
ENGLEWOOD, CO
Do you think our lack of size on the defensive line contributes to our inside linebackers being injured often?

Nick: That’s probably a very good assessment. Go back and look at some of the games the Cowboys played with Jay Ratliff. Bruce Carter’s tackle totals are pretty high when Ratliff was in there. Now, I know he’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he takes up blocks, and that’s really all you’re looking for, it just usually occurs in the guys who weigh 300-plus. But adding some beef up front should help with a few areas, including keeping the offensive linemen off the linebackers. However, looking at the injuries that cost both Lee and Carter their seasons, one was a fluky play where a lineman was thrown onto Lee’s foot and Carter’s elbow got injured on a sideline play. But I think you’ve still got a good point.

Rowan: In the case of this past season, no, but in general, it could contribute to them getting hurt. Bruce Carter got hurt making a sideline tackle, in a position where the defensive linemen’s size wouldn’t have mattered. In the case of Sean Lee, it was just unfortunate his toe bent backward while trying to go make a play. But if the line was bigger, it would take some of the pressure off the often injured inside linebackers to get around blocks, which would always help limit injury.

 
STEVE MAGGI
NEW YORK, NY
 
Considering the Cowboys had equally mediocre seasons the last two years, all things being equal, how can the lack of progress NOT be blamed on the coaches, who were the same in both years?
 
Nick: I don’t think the coaches are being absolved of this, it just might not be the ones you want. This is really no different than any team who has struggled over the years. It’s the assistants/coordinators who take the fall one year. And if it doesn’t change, the head coach probably gets it the next year. But just give it a few days, maybe a week. I think you’re going to see that heavy blame has been placed on the coaches.
 
Rowan: It can, so far it has been, and the coaching moves don’t appear to start and end with Skip Peete and Rob Ryan. I think everyone might have overestimated the amount of talent on this team, and much of the talent that was there ended up leaving the field with injuries. It’s not safe to say any coach’s job is safe right now.
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