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Mailbag: Could Both Rookie RBs Make The Team? D-Linemen Standing Out?


I know it's only three days into training camp, but I was just wanting to see if anyone has been standing out on the defensive line? From getting off the ball to being able to capture the edge?

Rob: Ryan Russell has gotten work with the first team at defensive end early in camp and so far, he seems more active and comfortable as a rusher. Defensive tackle Terrell McClain has always been a productive player when healthy, and he's gotten first-team work as well. He's a guy who can play the one- or three-technique and penetrate the pocket. He's another player the defense missed last year who doesn't get mentioned nearly as often as Orlando Scandrick.

David: I've got to give some props to Terrell McClain, who has looked inspired heading into this camp. The biggest issue with McClain during his time here has been injuries, but he appears to be healthy in 2016 and looking to make the most of the opportunity on this line. He looks powerful and disruptive in every rep he takes, so I'm hopeful he can maintain that momentum and stay off the injury report. The Cowboys need pass rushers anywhere they can get them.


I like the idea of two rookie running backs making this team. I'm excited to see Darius Jackson get a large amount of work when the preseason games start. What does he need to do to unseat one of the vet guys? How does he perform as a receiver out of the backfield? Does he have any special teams value that might help him? Which of the vets is he most similar to?

Rob: Jackson had a couple of runs in Monday's padded practice where I said, 'Wow.' Good burst, vision. If he shows enough upside in preseason games, he'll be a tough call when it gets to final cuts. Special teams are crucial for any potential backup, for sure. But there's no question he has an uphill climb. Alfred Morris has looked sharp as well, and Lance Dunbar is making progress in his rehab from the 2015 knee injury.

David: I think that was more like six questions disguised as one. But I have long been a proponent of Darius Jackson. He was dynamic in college, and I think he could certainly find a role on special teams – whether that's as a returner or in coverage. He looked fantastic in his first practice – jetting between defenders and shooting through holes, and he showed off some solid hands. He's facing some steep odds, but I think he's going to force the coaches to make a tough decision about what they do with their running backs.

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