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Mailbag: Addressing O-Line? Defending The Run?


While there certainly may be needs at safety and possibly tight end, would you agree that more importantly the Cowboys should address their offensive line in the offseason? This line used to be able to impose their will on opponents and wear the defenses down and then pound Zeke to close out games. - BRIAN SELWIN / HICKSVILLE, NY

Bryan: I think getting Travis Frederick back next season will clearly help. Connor Williams will get stronger and should be your starter at guard. I do agree about adding more quality depth, especially at tackle. Maybe you could find that guy that turns into a starter one day.

Rob: It's tough to paint a broad brushstroke over the entire season. We did see the O-Line wear down defenses in the second half of games, most recently in the wild-card round against Seattle. The Rams game had a strange flow to it -- very few offensive plays, and L.A. was able to stay fresh on defense. However, there's no question the line had a lot of challenges this year, starting with Travis Frederick's auto-immune illness. The goal is that he returns in 2019, obviously, but I also think a full offseason will help Connor Williams add weight and strength. That could make a huge difference for this group.


First, congratulations to the Cowboys on a great season. One of the topics in the post-game analysis has been that the Rams remained in their standard 3-4 defense even when Dallas went three-wide. Could the Cowboys have used a similar strategy on defense, by also staying in their base rather than the nickel when the Rams went three-wide to help stop the run? It sounds like the Rams had a lot of success running when the Cowboys were only using two linebackers. TODD FIACCO / BEAUMONT, CA

Bryan: It's a fair question, but the Cowboys had been playing single-high safety all season with Jeff Heath down handling the run. The problem in this game wasn't the scheme -- it was their inability to play square along the front and the fits by the linebackers. They also had some chances to tackle in the hole and they missed. I just don't think it's as simple as, put Damien Wilson in the game.

Rob: I understand the question in hindsight, but I think the run defense issues were more about execution than anything else. The Rams are so dangerous spreading you out that you've got to match that with cover guys. The Cowboys have been effective at stopping the run really all season long, with the exception of the Colts loss. They just didn't get off blocks well in either game.

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