The Cowboys have officially entered the bye week, and to say it is much-needed would be an understatement. Few teams in the NFL have experienced the type of injuries the Cowboys have dealt with all year, especially to key positions such as the quarterback.
As the team gets the weekend off, let's dive into some pressing questions that surround this team and the final seven games of the schedule.
Today, we begin the five-part series with a hot topic around the most high-profile position.
Mickey Spagnola: After playing only 17 snaps against the Eagles, defensive tackle Neville Gallimore's snaps stepped up to 36 against the Steelers. That was 52 percent of the snaps. Need to keep that up. Heck, he might have played even more against the Steelers had they not changed up their offense, basically throwing the ball once falling behind 19-9 nearly every snap. Same for Antwaun Woods. And will be interested to see what the recently-acquired Eli Ankou has. The defensive tackle after just a couple days of practice did get 11 snaps against the Steelers.
Rob Phillips: Fifth-round draft pick Bradlee Anae has played only six defensive snaps this season, and he was inactive against the Steelers. I'm all for giving Randy Gregory a ton of playing time — he was really active with five pressures last Sunday — but I'd like to see what Anae can do with a few snaps in the rotation. With Everson Griffen now in Detroit, there could be ways to work Anae into the lineup. He's a skilled pass rusher, and perhaps most important at that position, he's got a terrific motor.
Kyle Youmans: BRADLEE ANAE PLEASE. It's been nine weeks now and each week I plead to the coaching staff to see significant snaps for Anae who has six on the year and three different forms of pressure in just those six snaps. He plays well on special teams, doesn't have Everson Griffen in his way anymore, yet he can't find his way on to the active roster. The rookie is a gamer. He had double-digit sacks last year for Utah and the tape got him to the NFL despite scouts everywhere asking "where does the production come from?" He's a poor practice player, which may be why he doesn't see the snaps, but I want to see the rook get a significant chance.
David Helman: My esteemed colleagues, Rob Phillips and Kyle Youmans, have already laid out the case for Bradlee Anae. But what about Reggie Robinson? And don't get me wrong, I don't think the rookie DB is going to make a world of difference. But at 2-7, you've got to at least consider giving reps to some young guys who might be part of your future. Robinson struggled to adapt to NFL speed during training camp, so it might be a bit of a transition for him. But this is a chance to give a rookie some valuable in-game reps to help your evaluation for the future.
Nick Eatman: I see a lot of defensive answers here and rightfully so. But I'll go to the offensive side and say Connor McGovern. Now, that's easier said than done because there doesn't seem to be a great spot for it right now. But I just know that I don't want to finish a second season for him and barely know what I've got in a third-round pick. This seems like the season to be able to find a place to play him. When he was out there against the Eagles, it didn't seem too bad. I know Connor Williams is the left guard now, but as the season goes on, maybe there's a chance to slide Connor out to tackle just to see how he holds up there. Maybe he's the swing tackle next year? Who knows? But by doing that, it'd open up a guard spot to play McGovern. Let's not forget the Cowboys had a second-round grade on him and it might be two full seasons that have gone by and we really don't know anything about him yet.