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Mailbag: An Undiscussed HOF Candidate?


I am having a hard time with what seems like the coaches' infatuation with the potential of Ben DiNucci. While in my opinion he won't be in the running for the backup job, I really don't see any reason for even having him on this team at this point. Your thoughts? — BRIAN SELWIN /HICKSVILLE, NY

David: It's totally fair to point out that front offices like to protect their draft picks until they don't have a choice. But on top of that, I think it's important to remember that the coaches are trying to evaluate 10 other guys at the same time. It's easy to say they should cut DiNucci because he had a bad night, but you're then getting rid of a quarterback who has 15 months of experience in this offense, who can make all the correct calls, make the correct reads and help them get a read on the other guys. I don't think he has a chance to win the backup job, but Ben DiNucci can do a lot of good in helping the Cowboys evaluate the rest of their young players.

Rob: If you view DiNucci as more of a developmental player than a candidate for the No. 2 quarterback spot at this point, then I think his current spot on the roster makes more sense. Coming from an FCS school last year, he didn't have any chances in preseason because of the pandemic and got tossed into an emergency regular-season start. There's nothing wrong with trying to groom young talent at the game's most important position if enough progress is shown. He's getting his chances now, and he's got some more practices and three preseason games left to make a case for the third QB spot once again.

Why don't we hear Daryl Johnston's name mentioned more in regard to the Pro Football Hall of Fame? The obvious answer of he doesn't have the rushing, receiving, and scoring stats doesn't wash. He was a fullback and arguably the best ever at what he was asked to do. — MATT CARROTHERS / ORCAS ISLAND, WA

David: I guess my main question is who are you picking him over? Fair or not, there's no denying that the Hall is slanted toward gaudy stats and career totals, not to mention that there's not often much focus on role players. That's why there's only two "pure" kickers enshrined. Considering that only five guys get into the Hall in a given year, it's just hard for me to imagine Moose's resume stacking up with the guys he'd be up against. That's not a knock on him, just the nature of the beast.

Rob: "Moose" absolutely deserves consideration. He helped Emmitt Smith break the all-time rushing record by a wide margin, and Smith has always looked at himself and Johnston as a team in that regard. The NFL made fullback a Pro Bowl position because of Johnston's success. And he was a respected leader on arguably the league's greatest dynasty. But the competition for Canton gets tougher every year, and there aren't many true block-first fullbacks in the Hall of Fame. Jim Brown and Larry Csonka were listed as fullbacks but obviously were very productive running the ball. I do think he's on a list of maybe 10 more Cowboys greats who deserve to have their name discussed by the committee.

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