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Cowboys Mailbag: December 29, 2011

/ Editor's Note: Each weekday,'s writers will field two questions from the fans. Click here to email your question now. **

NATE ROLLINS SUGAR LAND, TX:There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the Cowboys' lack of mental toughness. What are your thoughts on the overall state of mind heading into New York?

Rob: To me, this presents the same vague argument as words like "intensity," "urgency," and "chemistry." How do you measure that? Both teams have played a lot of close games and they've won and lost some. I don't believe it's about toughness. It's about whether either team is good enough to consistently beat the better teams in the league. Neither has throughout the course of the season, and that's why one game decides their playoff hopes now.

Josh: As for the state of mind, I think most everybody is focused, committed and eager for the opportunity. This is where Jason Garrett's steadiness comes in really handy, I think, because the team is definitely aware of the importance of this game, but doesn't seem uptight. They're confident, but not overconfident. Mental toughness? It's been there in some games, apparently, and not in others, but there's no way to quantify that. Were they more mentally tough than Tampa, or were they just better? I think this game has as much to do with preparation during the week as anything else.

ANDY MORALLER MIDDLESEX, NJ: Do you think the offseason game plan is the same, win or lose on Sunday? Who's fate is in the balance?

Rob: They've got decisions to make on free-agents-to-be like Anthony Spencer, Abram Elam, Martellus Bennett and Bradie James. Everyone wonders about Terence Newman's future despite three years remaining on his contract. I think you'll see a defensive-minded draft with Rob Ryan (if he's not a head coach somewhere else) adding pieces for his scheme. This was a transition year for the offensive line, so it's possible the entire group returns intact except for maybe one guard spot.

Josh: I don't know if any one player can make or break his roster spot, because those decisions are based more on the season as a whole than this one game. But you never know. If the Cowboys had beaten Philadelphia in Week 17 of 2008, maybe Terrell Owens sticks around another year. When things implode like they did that night, you have to look at everything. Now, the jobs of some assistant coaches could definitely be in jeopardy if the Cowboys lose.

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