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Mailbag: Biggest adjustment needed for playoffs?


With the playoffs now here, what area or aspect of the team do you think needs the biggest adjustment to allow for the Cowboys to be the best possible version of themselves? I'm thinking their running game, penalties or perhaps the run defense? – Estevan Espinosa/Albuquerque, NM

Nick Harris:I am taking a close look at penalties improving during the playoffs after the Cowboys were the second-most penalized team in the regular season. There were far too many times that the Cowboys shot themselves in the foot with avoidable discipline penalties and it led to drives stalling out and extending drives against opposing offenses. If the Cowboys can whittle down their penalties — similar to how they did towards the end of the regular season — then they should be in favorable situations across the postseason.

Patrik: I think they are what they are in the run game, at this point, and that's a solid two-back attack that probably won't light up a stat sheet but, to be honest, one that doesn't have to. All the rushing attack needs to do is make enough impact plays to keep defenses honest and to possibly salt a game away when needed. I think the biggest issue to improve upon is penalties, because that could very well cost you a win, especially as the margin for error shrinks massively in the playoffs. The Cowboys are the most penalized team in the league this season, and it's been known to stall/kill drives and delete big plays and even touchdowns. If they flip that switch and keep the laundry off of the field when they're on the field, in all three phases, they're going to be one of the toughest outs in the tournament.

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