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Cowboys Mailbag: September 21, 2011

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

Pete Hay - Columbia, MD: How about that Dallas defense? Are you surprised by how quickly things have come together for Rob Ryan, and do you think they can keep it up?

Rob: I think Marcus Spears made a great point, saying what they've lacked in familiarity with the scheme has been replaced by effort and intensity. Guys have really bought into the freedom and aggressiveness that Ryan fosters. As Orlando Scandrick told me, they're taking the fight to the offense instead of reacting. And Ryan has done a good job of making adjustments without his corners healthy.

Nick: Well I think it's premature to say things have "come together" yet. This team has allowed 24 points and 27 points in two games, although one of the scores occurred on special teams. What has been impressive so far is the number of sacks, especially from guys like Hatcher and Spencer. Yes, I think this defense can keep it up, especially if they get their top cornerbacks back on the field.

Gary Bailey - Carrollton, TX : Is Kevin Kowalski a legitimate center? He kind of came out of nowhere, but he's not sticking out as being bad. What do the coaches think of his play, and what sort of potential might he have?

Rob: You're right, and even though it was preseason, the Minnesota game was really impressive. The kid found out a couple of hours before kickoff that he was replacing a five-time Pro Bowler and would be asked to play the entire game, including at least a half against Jared Allen and those guys. Certainly a good start for him, and I don't think the coaches believe he'd be overwhelmed Monday night if Phil Costa can't play.

Nick: Yeah, he's been a big surprise but so far, every time he's been out there he's getting the job done. Right now, he'll just be a serviceable backup but it doesn't seem like the Cowboys are worried about putting him out there.

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