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Mailbag: Are Cowboys Still "Run-First" Team?

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Are the Cowboys still really a "run-first" team anymore? –LES HOFFMAN / PELL CITY, AL

David: With the money they've invested in their running back, the Cowboys would be wise to make sure they're always trying to maintain a healthy rushing attack. But it's hard to ignore the statistics about how much more important the passing game is, and how much more often NFL teams throw than run. If they're going to pay Dak Prescott, I'd argue they need to be pass-first, though they need to be efficient and effective when they do run.

Rob: As much as Dak Prescott threw the ball last year, I wouldn't say the Cowboys were an undisputed "run first" offense last season. Kellen Moore wants to attack defenses different ways. I do think as long as they have Zeke Elliott and a capable offensive line, the run game will be a large factor in what they do. The offense has been at its best when Prescott isn't having to throw 40-45 times. The 49ers were a good example last season of what playaction off the run game can do (with a great defense, too.)

What can you tell us about the specific changes or upgrades to the strength and conditioning department this offseason? –SEAN GAUTIER / LYNN HAVEN, FL

David: BTThe big one is obviously the promotion of Markus Paul to the head job. He steps in for Mike Woicik, and I'm impressed with his credentials. Paul was an assistant strength coach with New England from 2000-04 and helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls. He won another two rings with the New York Giants in 2007 and 2011. He's running the show under Mike McCarthy, which will give him the chance to implement his own program for the first time.

Rob: The Cowboys kept some continuity there despite Mike Woicik moving on. Markus Paul was a longtime assistant under Woicik at multiple stops and has worked on five Super Bowl staffs with the Patriots and Giants. It always seemed like he would be Woicik's eventual successor here.

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