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Mailbag: Why Was The Passing Game Conservative?

Posted Jan 30, 2014


NEAL BUTLER
LAS CRUCES, NM
So with the coaching changes, I wanted to ask what you guys think of last season's offense. Tony Romo's numbers were down, in terms of interceptions, but also yards per attempt - is that down to play-calling, injury, or the receivers?
 
Nick: Little bit of everything. If you're going to take less chances, you get less rewards. So the fewer interceptions also meant less big plays down the field. But I've said for a while now the offense lacks pure speed. With more game-breakers at receiver, it opens up the middle more and it allows more of those big plays. Terrance Williams showed at times he could stretch the field, but not enough. This team needs a home-run hitter at receiver. He doesn't have to a be a first-rounder or even a rookie, but someone that teams must worry about getting behind them. That would probably open up the middle for Jason Witten and Dez Bryant even more.
 
David: I think that’s just the offense the Cowboys wanted to run. They talked often about focusing more on the ground game, and although you can argue they still didn’t run enough, they did improve. They also wanted to improve the turnover margin, which meant fewer risky throws. It’s hard to remember more than a handful of long throws that connected – I can think of ones against Kansas City, New Orleans and Denver, but there weren’t a bunch. It’ll be interesting to see if or how that changes with Scott Linehan calling the shots. We all saw firsthand how much Detroit liked to test the field deep.
 
CASEY TIMMONS
BOISE, ID
Maybe this is purely based on being a glass is half full kind of guy, but is D-Line really the biggest need heading into next season? I mean there are a lot of what if’s. What if DeMarcus Ware returns to his former glory? What if Tyrone Crawford pans out? What if Anthony Spencer returns? Josh Brent? George Selvie? Not to mention Rod Marinelli.
 
Nick:I think your glass is more than half-full and I kind want to know what's in there? Just kidding, but that does seem very
optimistic. If by chance, all of those things work out in the Cowboys' favor, then maybe the Cowboys won't have the worst defense in the NFL. I'm sure they wouldn't .  You didn't mention Jason Hatcher there at all so even the most optimistic guy in Idaho doesn't think Hatcher will come back. I still think this team needs to get  younger on the defensive line. Ware and Spencer are both in their 30s and have had injury concerns to say the least. Even if all of those guys come back strong, with Marinelli coaching them, I would like to see them take a young lineman, preferably a tackle, and have some building blocks to work with.
 
David: That’s way too many what if’s for me to feel comfortable with the Cowboys not addressing the defensive line. Even if you’re right and Ware and Spencer regain a bit of their old form, they are not young players. Ware is entering his 10th NFL season and Spencer is entering his eighth. The rest of the guys you mentioned are either unproven commodities, or proven commodities who are not top-notch talent. It can’t hurt to look toward the future and bolster the depth.
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