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Mailbag: Should The Cowboys Have Punted Or Taken A Safety?

Posted Nov 19, 2012

STEVE PENDERGRASS
PENRYN, CA

Why did the Cowboy's punt at the end of the game instead of taking a safety and then using the free kick? With the punt, the most likely scenario was the Browns would end up with the ball at the Cowboys’ 40- or 45-yard line.

Bryan: OK, interesting thought, but you are making the game 17 to 15 with 1:10 on the clock. Say the ball is at midfield and on the sidelines for the Browns there is a kicker that had made a 51 yarder earlier. If you do this, you are risking the possibility of the Browns running the clock down to 0:02 and then making the game-winning field goal with no time on the clock. At the time I thought Garrett did the right thing making the Browns try and score the touchdown.    

Rowan: The safety was definitely an option. The only problem with that is the Browns only scored one touchdown the rest of the day and had just missed scoring on a goal line stand, so the Cowboys showed they were capable of making a stop even if Cleveland got in the red zone. A field goal would win it with the safety, and either way they’d have to kick it to Joshua Cribbs or give the Browns’ decent field position. Rather than taking the safety, working in a play action or quick pass in that set of downs would have made the most sense to me, rather than hand the Browns the ball in prime field position.
 
NATE RACKLEY
LEBANON, PA

Why is it with Romo under so much duress that we are not seeing a more elaborate screen game? Over the years we are consistently unable to run the screen well. Why?

Bryan: Garrett has always tried to work on the screen game in training camp and use it at certain points and times during the season. In the past he has had some blockers that do a better job of getting outside and securing blocks in space. Kyle Kosier comes to mind. The current group that he has doesn’t have those kinds of traits, unless its Costa and Bernadeau. Cook has struggled to get to second levels at times and Livings is a short area player. Has more to do with type of players than anything else.

Rowan: The screen pass seems to be a good way to quell the high sack total and make up for the amount of backups playing on the offensive line. The only problem is the screen pass requires linemen to get out in space, and maybe Garrett feels his current group can’t do so adequately. But I think the screen should be a viable consideration, particularly using it with Dunbar to get him in space.

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