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Mailbag: Concerns Left Over From Last Season?

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I know we finished last year with the No. 7 ranked defense, but I can't get out of my mind the Colts and Rams games where they ran on us at will. Do you feel that enough was done in the offseason to address the interior of the defensive line (tackles)? We will play some of, if not 10 of the best running backs in the league this year. - TYRONE YOUNG / ALBUQUERQUE, NM

Bryan: You played two quality offensive lines in those games. You catch the Rams again this year, but they will only have a week to prepare for the Cowboys. They did a heck of a job getting ready for that game with their blocking scheme and it showed. I like the addition of Christian Covington. Pairing him with Antwuan Woods and Maliek Collins will make a big difference.

Rob: Based on the other 16 games they played last season, run defense is not my biggest concern with this year’s team. No question the entire front seven, not just the tackles, got dominated in losses to the Rams and Colts. Remember, nose tackle Antwaun Woods played with a torn labrum in the playoff game. Maliek Collins had some injuries last year. I think the front office realized they had to improve the depth and they have.

It seems inevitable someone suffers a serious injury in training camp and is lost for the season or a significant part of it. Although it wasn't an injury, last year we lost Travis Frederick for the season. Like almost all teams, the starting QB is the obvious last player we could afford for this to happen. Other than Dak, who do you see would be the most devastating to lose before the season even begins? - DAVID NYSTROM / LOUDON, TN

Bryan: I really don’t like the prospect of playing without Ezekiel Elliott, whether it’s an injury or holdout. Putting that much pressure on Dak Prescott to make up for his 2,000 yards of total offense is something I don’t want to think about.

Rob: It’s not guaranteed to happen, but yes, injuries are always a possibility at any point in the year. The Cowboys won seven of the last nine games with Amari Cooper in the lineup last season, and although Randall Cobb is a strong replacement for Cole Beasley, it’s clear what a big-play threat outside did for the rest of the offense. Those chunk plays gave them a much-needed uptick in scoring. They need a healthy Cooper all season to make everyone better in the passing game.

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