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Mailbag: Byron Jones' Play; 3rd Down Issues

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It was good to see Byron Jones 'protecting the star' when the Titans players celebrated on it after Byard's interception. What is Byron Jones' future look like with the Cowboys? His play this year certainly warrants a lucrative contract. - H. MELVIN

Bryan: It's amazing what a position switch and a coaching change could do for a guy. There is no question that Byron Jones has been outstanding. He surely is trending in the way of an extension, but by picking up his fifth-year option earlier this season they have that control for one more season. I am going to treat it the same way that they did for DeMarcus Lawrence. Let him play out that final year and then make the evaluation from there. Put back-to-back seasons together and we can talk extension.

Rob:His future looks bright, doesn't it? We saw this in training camp – Jones using his size, speed and strength to aggressively cover receivers and finish plays. Kris Richard saw that Jones had all the tools to be a physical, productive outside cornerback. I give credit to Jones for playing wherever he was asked during his first three seasons with the team, but they needed to find a permanent spot for him and it's working out.

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We have struggled to convert third-and-short or third-and-long. Both scenarios always seem to result in Dak getting sacked. Is it play-calling? Lack of execution? Dak not adjusting/anticipating the blitz. What can the team do to improve theirthird down conversion rate? - ANTHONY KIRKSEY / GLEN BURNIE, MD

Brya*n:*When this team was really humming along converting third downs it was winning on first down. There have been a couple of games this season where they've won on first down with a positive gain and its set them up for a makeable second or third down. Not winning on those early downs has put them in some tough spots and has forced them into some mistakes such as penalties that has knocked them off the field.  

Rob: The Cowboys are averaging 5.73 yards on first down, which is ranked 15th out of 32 teams. Not terrible. But you're right, Anthony – they're 28th in third-down conversion percentage (33.3). I agree with Bryan about first and second down. Particularly the last two games, they've had minus plays – mostly sacks and penalties – wreck their down and distance.

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