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Mailbag: Assessing Kellen Moore's First Season

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I think this was mentioned a few weeks ago but not sure. Can you please explain to me why Trysten Hill isn't playing? I read your columns all summer how he's doing great and he disrupts the pocket. Can't he help us in the run game? - JACK BASCH / BROOKLYN, NY

Rob: Maybe this week is Hill’s chance to get back in the defensive tackle rotation. Antwaun Woods isn’t expected to play against Buffalo because of a knee sprain. Christian Covington is the logical replacement at nose tackle, but Woods at least has a chance to be active for the first time since Michael Bennett arrived from the Patriots. Hill is a young player (21) who’s still learning what is expected of him at this level, and he probably needs a full offseason to get stronger. But yes, the talent level and effort on the field is there.

David: They don’t think he’s ready. There’s no other conclusion you can draw when a top-60 draft pick is a healthy inactive for seven of 11 games. You can view that as an indictment on Hill, or on the Cowboys for over-drafting him, but there’s not a ton that can be done about it right now. Antwaun Woods’ sprained MCL is going to give Hill an opportunity to play this week, and possibly next week. Hopefully he makes the most of it.

In your assessment of first-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, what do you like and where would you like to see improvement in these last few games? - MATT REILLY / GREENSBORO, NC

Rob: I like that they’re the No. 1 offense in the league, despite the fact that they still can’t seem to start games fast. I don’t really factor in the Patriots game in that regard because of the weather. Moore has done a very good job of making this a pick-your-poison offense. I do think that when Dak also makes plays with his feet, the offense is that much more dangerous. But I’ve always said you have to be selective and not risk him too much as a runner. In just about every loss they’ve had, the red zone has been an issue. They know they’ve got to be more consistent finishing drives.

David: It’s hard to nitpick too much when you’re talking about the No. 1 offense in the league, but it sure does seem like the Cowboys have gotten away from some of the stuff that made them so fun earlier on in the season. We’re seeing less passing on early downs, and we’re definitely seeing less movement before the snap. This team has too many playmakers not to be straining opposing defenses by moving them around the field. Oh and also, clean it up in the red zone. The Cowboys have only scored touchdowns on 4-of-10 possessions in these last three games.

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