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Mailbag: Changes To The Offense This Year?

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What major differences will there be between Mike McCarthy's offensive style and what we have seen from Jason Garrett's offense? —JOHN FORE / SAN MARCOS, TX

Nick: Good question and hopefully we'll find out soon enough. I think you can have a philosophy all day long, but at the end of the day, it's about the players. And don't forget that McCarthy had Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as his two quarterbacks in Green Bay. So what worked there, might not work here. I do think he likes to spread the offense out more than Garrett. You shouldn't see as much "13" personnel with the three-tight end sets. I think it'll be spread to use the width of the field more than we've seen with Garrett. But don't think he's going to abandon the running game.

David: It's a great question for a variety of reasons. Firstly, because the Cowboys' offense has been heavily influenced by Scott Linehan and then Kellen Moore in the years since Garrett surrendered play calling duties. Secondly, because Mike McCarthy has vowed to mesh his preferences with what Moore has already put in place. We know McCarthy is a West Coast Offense disciple, which means a ton of focus on timing and shorter runs, rather than an over-reliance on the vertical passing game. Does that mean Dallas is going to overhaul what already worked last year? I doubt it. But I would expect we'll notice the difference. Hopefully, with three Pro Bowl-caliber receivers in the lineup, McCarthy helps the Cowboys get away from that 1995, ground-and-pound mentality.

With an altered offseason schedule, how do you think the team will evaluate the rookies, especially the undrafted free agent signings? —JON JOHNSTON / NEW BRAUNFELS, TX

Nick: I'm sure the coaches and front-office personnel would say there will be no big difference in the evaluation process. But clearly, there needs to be a little more understanding in the development of these guys, especially when they get back on the field. I think one thing the coaches can see right now is just how quickly they grasp concepts and scheme. That tells you a lot about what they can process at this level. But once they get on the field, I think you just evaluate what you see – and that won't be a major difference.

David: We'll see how training camp shapes out in the coming weeks, but this rookie class is going to be behind the eight ball. We already know that it's a grind for these guys to go from the draft circuit back to regular football. Now, it appears that they'll be jumping into the mix without even the benefit of OTAs or a rookie minicamp to get their feet wet. I'm not worried about the highly-drafted guys. Their salaries will protect them, not to mention their obvious edge in talent. But yes I'd imagine this will be quite a challenge for the unsung rookies to rise to the occasion.

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