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Mailbag: Adding To The Depth At Linebacker? More Catches For Zeke?

JASON BROWNAPOLLO BEACH, FL
Why have we not tried to upgrade or at least get depth at the linebacker position? Other than Sean Lee (who fortunately stayed healthy for first time in a season) we have huge question marks and frankly subpar play.

Bryan: In my opinion Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson were two of the best defensive players during OTAs and minicamp. Hopefully you get something out of Jaylon Smith as well as Mark Nzeocha. Going after Washington, Harris or Orr are looked at as upgrades but all have their forms of risks. 

David:I think this might be my biggest disconnect with fans, because I'm fine with the linebacker situation as is. Sean Lee is an All-Pro, and I genuinely believe Hitchens and Wilson are two of the more underrated players on the roster. If Jaylon Smith can contribute, that gives you four solid options at linebacker, with a few added bodies for depth. It's not the best linebacker corps in the league, but I think it's fine – especially considering how many resources this team needed to use on its pass rush and its secondary.

LAVI FERRACHERAW, CO
Everyone knows Ezekiel Elliott is an exceptional running back with both power and speed, but I think he could have done more screens just to switch it up and keep the defense guessing what he's going to do.  He did it a lot at Ohio State and there was the 84-yard touchdown against the Steelers. Do you think we'll see more screens from him this year?

Bryan: Just getting him the ball in space is a great idea. It doesn't have to be just screens. We did see some games where they put him in the slot or flexed him wide -- Green Bay, I believe? But by doing this you also take away his ability to help in blitz pickup, which is just as important as catching the ball. So they need to find that balance. 

David:One way or another, Zeke needs to be a bigger factor in the passing game. He averaged just two receptions per outing last year, for a total of 32 catches. Back in 2014, DeMarco Murray averaged double that en route to 57 total catches – and he's not as dynamic a runner as Zeke. I know it's tough to spread the ball around when you have so many options, but Zeke is the bell cow. They've got to find a way to utilize as many of his abilities as possible.

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