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Mailbag: Best Chance For Success vs. Steelers?


I hear over and over about the best way to protect our young quarterbacks with our decimated line is to run the ball more, but wouldn't a game plan with a lot of quick-hitting throws (kind of like the Rams and Jared Goff used against us) work better? Don't have to hold blocks as long? — SCOTT WHORTEN / BAKERSVILLE, NC

Rob: Well, obviously the coaching staff has to be aware of their personnel up front and figure out the best ways for the offense to function. Finding ways to get the quarterback (whoever it is Sunday) in rhythm with the receivers is important, so your point is well taken. But I don't think you can get by with a bunch of long drives against this Steelers defense. They're too good at forcing takeaways. The Cowboys will have to hit some big plays at points in the game. The run game is also absolutely essential to take pressure off Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush. As good as Pittsburgh has been against the run, I was encouraged by the way Dallas found lanes last week with Zack Martin back in the lineup.

David: I think it'd always be a good idea to design a lot of rollouts and bootlegs for your quarterback. Get him on the move with one or two easy reads, right in front of him. Regardless of who wins the quarterback job this week, it will be a guy who has never started an NFL game – so I'm nervous about asking him to try to read too much. If they're going to ask him to throw, hopefully Kellen Moore can scheme up some play calls that make the decisions very easy.

Do you see the Cowboys going to another full rebuilding of the team again? — RUBEN TREVINO / CONVERSE, TX

Rob: Rebuilding after this season? No, I don't think the front office views it that way. With so many injuries to key players, I expect their plan is to get healthy and basically run it back in 2021, particularly on offense. Defense? That might be different. I expect we'll see more roster changes there, and some of that might come organically with several players having expiring contracts. We'll see. But for now, Mike McCarthy is trying to build a culture for his program and it starts with continuing to fight through the challenges this year, regardless of the record and the problems they've had in games.

David: We've been talking a lot about this because of the trade deadline. You can call me a sunshine pumper if you want to, but this is a team that needs a better run of luck more than they need a rebuild. If I tell you that Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins are all available in 2021, you probably feel pretty good about the offense. The defense definitely needs an infusion of talent, but they're going to have a bunch of really good draft picks to help with that. Trust me, I'm not trying to suggest that nothing is wrong. They've got some tough decisions to make on several key players, they have to do a better job of adding free agents -- and they're going to need to nail their draft class. But, assuming some guys can get healthy, I think they're much closer to being competitive than needing to blow their roster up.

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