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Mailbag: Could Scandrick Have Helped With Takeaways? Issues On 3rd Down?

KENT MCINNESCAPITAN, NM

Question: Is it possible that one main reason we have not seen turnovers is Orlando Scandrick not being on the field? He was around or involved in a lot of turnovers last year. Seems like that is a big part of what is lacking in the lack of turnovers.

Nick:This team is missing Scandrick big time. I don't know if that's the main reason for the lack of turnovers but had to be a factor. He wasn't a big interception guy but he does hold the coverage longer, especially in the slot, which leads to more pressures, sacks, fumbles, etc. 

David: There's no doubt in my mind this defense misses Orlando Scandrick, but I'm not sure it's because of his ballhawking ability. He forced two fumbles last year, and he came away with two picks – including the game-clincher in Chicago. He had a fantastic season, but his career-high for interceptions is still just two. I'm 100 percent confident Scandrick's presence would be a boost for this defense, but I think there's more to the turnover troubles than that. After all, they've fallen all the way from 31 in 2014 to eight this year. That's a difference that one player can't make up on his own.

MIKEDALLAS, TX
Question: What has been wrong with the Cowboys' offense on third down and in the red zone and how can it improve?

Nick: It starts with figuring out a way to get 3-5 yards on the ground. I think they have no choice but to spread out the defense and create room to run. That being said, defenses won't spread too far if they don't think Cassel will throw it. Fades to Dez and even Escobar will at least keep them honest. But this 13 bunch personnel stuff doesn't work because they're not physical enough this year. 

David: Can we start by killing off the jumbo package? There's no denying that the Cowboys are good at running the ball. It's probably what they do best this year. But the threat of a passing game is already hindered by the presence of a backup quarterback. And defenses are even less likely to be fooled when you trot three tight ends onto the field for a 3rd-and-short. Without Tony Romo, this offense isn't equipped to run at will, even when the defense knows it's coming, and I think that's been pretty evident.

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