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Mailbag: Best Position For David Irving? Zack Martin An Emergency Left Tackle?

ROB YARDUMIAN

PORTLAND, OR

Can you explain why the Cowboys are so determined to play David Irving at DT? With his traits -- length, reach, quickness -- he'd seem to be a prototypical DE. I'd love to see what he could do opposite Lawrence at RDE for a full season. I know the Cowboys "like him better" at DT, but why exactly?

Bryan: I believe they like him better at tackle because he has shown that even with all those traits you mentioned, he still doesn’t win as often on the edge as he does inside. Putting him inside, he can affect the quarterback quicker due to his ability to handle these guards than tackles. 

Rob: Last season, they had moved Tyrone Crawford to stabilize the run defense on the edge and that seemed to work. When Irving returned from suspension, they felt his quickness and penetration was a good fit for the under tackle spot. Assuming Irving returns – he’s a restricted free agent – I wouldn’t dismiss the idea of him playing some end opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. We’ve seen him dominate there before. It might depend on whether the Cowboys add a true defensive tackle in the draft.


BILLY TROMPETER

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK

No matter who we get as a swing tackle, it seems that Zack Martin would be our best option at left tackle in another instance of Tyron Smith's injury bug. I know the coaches don't like for the linemen to practice at multiple positions, but it seems guard would be easier to fill in than left tackle, probably the second-highest priority on the team.

Bryan: My suggestion is to continue to work with Chaz Green and try to get him right. In 2016, he wasn’t a terrible option as a backup. Then they moved him to guard and it took away any development technique wise that he gained at tackle. Play him there the entire training camp and see what you have. Don’t even think about moving him. I am not against drafting another tackle as well for competition. Keep him and Martin in their places – you’ll be better off. 

Rob: It’s a thought, but I’d rather figure out a way to address one position instead of two. Martin did play some tackle in college and has been considered an emergency option at center before in his career. I just like the idea of keeping arguably the best guard in the league right where he is. Plus, his presence there is beneficial for La’el Collins’ continued development at right tackle.

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