Skip to main content


Presented by

Cowboys Mailbag: December 30, 2011

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

James Robertello - Berkeley Heights, NJ: Do you think Doug Free can handle Jason Pierre-Paul this time around?

Nick: Not every time, no. JPP is a Pro Bowl player and those guys are usually pretty consistent. So he'll have his moments in this game. But the question is, how many times will the Cowboys feel the need to give Free help. At times, they will need to double Pierre-Paul, but I still think Free can hold his own for the most part. I would think we see a better game from him this time.

Josh: Handle him? Not exactly. Keep him from taking over the game? That's a more realistic goal, and it will probably require some help from a tight end or back at times, and Tony Romo having to be very aware of the great rusher coming from his back side. Pierre-Paul is a beast. If he gets one sack, even two, but isn't constantly altering plays, then it wasn't an awful game for Free. He was the best player on either team in Week 14.

Howard Sellinger - Asheville, NC: The Cowboys have the ball and a two-point lead in Sunday's game with four minutes to go. Do you get conservative and call running plays, possibly putting the defense back on the field, or get more aggressive?

Nick: I think that's a creative question, and I'll try to play along. But we all know that a little more info is needed to answer that question. Like, how have the Cowboys achieved this two-point lead. Is Felix Jones having the game of his life, or does he have 36 yards on 17 carries? Has Tony Romo already thrown three picks or does he have three touchdowns including two in this quarter already. Where is the ball located? Pinned back deep or around midfield? What's the weather like? Is it windy and is the punter having a good game. There are a lot of factors involved. However, I think the Cowboys have to stick with what got them there. If it's a great day of passing, then I don't think you just have to run the clock out on the ground. The key is to get two first downs and to do it the smartest way possible.

Josh: Excellent question. I wonder whether what happened in Week 14 will alter Jason Garrett's thinking. All things beings equal, i.e. the same scenario all over again, I think he would be better off getting aggressive – throwing two passes out of three instead of one, to keep trying to move the ball. This is the kind of game where the team with the last possession wins.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content