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Mailbag: Are People Picking This Team To Regress? Starting Randle?

HUNTER BULLOCKMECHANICSVILLE, VA
Why are so many people picking the Cowboys to regress this year? Is this team just the easy pick because of the loss of DeMarco Murray? I see a slight setback in record but 8-8, I do not see -- maybe 10-6 or 11-5. Are these guys ignoring the upgrades on defense? What are your projections for this team this year? Or did I drink the blue Kool-Aid too early?

Bryan: If they survive the injuries like they did last season this team has a chance to win the 10 or 11 games that you speak of. There is also a chance that if Hardy is only suspended four or less games I believe that we could see an 11 or 12 win team.  

David:I think you've got to understand that it's not personal when writers pick things like regression. Statistically, we know that roughly four new teams have made the playoffs every year since 1990 – so roughly 30 percent of last year's field probably won't be there this time around. I think people see the loss of DeMarco Murray and the first-place schedule as reason enough to pick against them. Personally, I'm thinking something along the lines of 10-6 with a playoff appearance – but I'm not sure if that comes as the division champion or as a wildcard.

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CHRISTOPHER RUDYDeRIDDER, LA

I looking at our stable of running backs and it appears that Joseph Randle is the front runner to start.  However, I cannot help but to remember when Emmitt Smith was in his last years and Troy Hambrick was making noises about starting.  He had his flashes then and then given the opportunity, Hambrick could not produce.  Do you see any similarities with Joseph Randle?

Bryan: I was in the scouting department for the end of the Smith run and the beginning of Hambrick and he doesn't have half the talent that Randle has. Even with the poor offensive line play that we had during those days, Randle would have found ways to be productive and would have done a much better job. I see no similarities in the backs at all.

David:Behind this offensive line, I think Joseph Randle has a great chance to be productive in his third year. That said, I keep thinking back to his rookie season in 2013, when he had a chance to start for two weeks while DeMarco Murray was injured. He averaged 1.9 yards per carry against the Lions and 3.4 yards per carry against the Eagles. Now, obviously the line should be better in 2015, and Randle has no doubt improved. I guess my point is that I want to see Randle handle a heavier load before I just assume he can do it.

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