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Cowboys Mailbag: March 7, 2012

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KYLE COX EAST DUBUQUE, IL: Why would the Cowboys prefer the older guy, Keith Brooking, over the younger Bradie James?

Rob: Production might be one factor. Both guys split snaps last year, and Brooking ranked fifth on defense with 74 team-credited tackles to James' 53. The idea might be to bring back one for a year as veteran insurance for Bruce Carter, play some reduced defensive snaps and maybe some special teams. And of the two, James (31 years old) probably has a better chance of finding a better opportunity than Brooking (36) based on age.

Nick: Performance. Brooking has been a better player than James over their careers. One guy has been to multiple Pro Bowls and the other guy has been a solid to good player for this team. Even last year, Brooking had 72 tackles and James had just 53.

MARK JIMENEZ SAN ANTONIO, TX: I know the Cowboys like Barry Church. Is there any chance of him taking the next step and becoming a starter at safety?

Rob:He's a guy they view as possibly being a starter one day. He's more of a box-type safety, though, and I wonder if they're going to look for a more free safety type with some range and move Gerald Sensabaugh back to strong safety.

Nick: I think there is a good chance, but it'll depend on what they do and what they spend over the next two months. If they sign a veteran safety, or even re-sign Elam, then Church probably won't get the chance to compete. And if they draft a safety in the first two rounds, it likely bumps him down as well. I think Church is a good player, but his best chance of starting one day is probably to step in for an injured player and shine with the opportunity. I just don't see this club letting Church be the guy all summer and win the job. Not saying he couldn't do it. Just don't see the Cowboys putting their eggs in that basket.

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