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Cowboys Mailbag: March 16, 2012

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

JESSE JAMES SEATTLE, WA: Do you think Dan Connor will be able to break into the starting lineup, and is there a benefit from having two inside linebacker who played together in college, he and Sean Lee?

Rob: Maybe, and yes. Ask guys at that position, and they'll tell you how important communication is. The main points here are that it fills a big depth need and it's insurance for Bruce Carter's development. As a second-round pick, they hope he's a starter as soon as possible. But if not, they found a guy who can step in and do it – and he's younger than Keith Brooking and Bradie James.

Josh: Flip a coin as far as his chances of starting. Bruce Carter's got a good shot too. Sounds like they'll compete. Whoever ends up starting, all three guys are going to play. That's such a physical position that you need a rotation. Lee's not going to come off the field too often, but it would be good to get him a breather, when possible. As for the college aspect, it's been a while since those guys played together at Penn State, and I'm not sure how long their paths crossed on the same unit. You might be overrating that a bit.

DAVID FEDAK LEONARDO, NJ: Why waste cap space on Mackenzy Bernadeau, a backup who couldn't start for a poor offensive line? Don't we have enough young backups already?

Rob:I think it speaks to their faith in Bill Callahan as a teacher. In Bernadeau, they see a really talented guy in his mid-20s who hasn't put it all together yet. If he does under Callahan, they found a moderately-priced starter the same way they signed Kyle Kosier for five years and $15 million back in 2006. I don't think this move is necessarily a progress stopper for David Arkin, or possibly drafting another guard. There still should be some competition at both guard spots, even though this latest contract for Nate Livings (reported five years, $19 million) suggests one spot is his to lose.

Josh: You've got to think the Cowboys don't have a lot of faith in those young backup offensive linemen, otherwise they wouldn't have needed to go out and get two guards, paying starter money, or pretty close, to both of them. I wouldn't worry about guys being progress stoppers to David Arkin, Bill Nagy, Kevin Kowalski and Phil Costa. I would worry about those guys' ability to actually make progress. The Cowboys are now prepared in the event that they don't.

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