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Mailbag: Could This Passing Game Make History?


I was catching up on the podcasts and you guys brought up an interesting question a couple weeks ago. Could the Cowboys actually produce three 1,000-yard receivers this year (Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb)? It's rare but seems possible. Thanks. – MIKE S / DALLAS, TX

David: Funnily enough, the Los Angeles Chargers came seven yards away from pulling this off just last season. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams both finished with 1,000 yards — and running back Austin Ekeler fell just short with 993. That's the big difference for me. The Cowboys' receivers are all talented enough to finish with 1,000 yards, but they're splitting time with a dominant running back. And while Ezekiel Elliott is a capable receiver, I don't think he's dynamic enough in that regard to finish with 1,000 yards. So yes, I think it's possible, but no I don't think it'll happen. This team is still going to lean on the ground game a lot.

Rob: We did debate it on Talkin' Cowboys, and apparently just five offenses in league history have ever accomplished this, most recently the 2008 (and NFC Champion) Cardinals. I wouldn't rule it out, because Randall Cobb was only 132 yards short of joining Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup in the 1,000 club last year. Cobb's replacement, CeeDee Lamb, is a terrific talent. But I'll say no because this offense has so many options, and I also don't expect them to be throwing from behind as much as they were last year.

Assuming Aldon Smith starts, I believe every starter on the Cowboys' defensive front seven are, or were, Pro Bowlers. Has any other NFL team been able to make this claim? – RICK WINKLER / SAN DIEGO, CA

David: What a great question. As an answer, I'd say people don't wax poetic about the 1985 Chicago Bears for no reason. Go back and look at that group, and you'll see that five members of their front seven made the Pro Bowl in the same season. Wilber Marshall didn't make the Pro Bowl during that 1985 season, but he was a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro during his decorated career. The only member of that Bears' front seven that never made the Pro Bowl was William Perry, aka "The Fridge." To this day he is one of the most iconic defensive tackles in league history — so I'd say it's close enough.

Rob: Great research by my man Davey. This has got to be an extremely rare piece of trivia. Indeed, the Cowboys will be fielding all Pro Bowlers (former or reigning) in the front seven if offseason additions Aldon Smith, Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy startnext to Tank Lawrence on the defensive line – and assuming Leighton Vander Esch is back healthy this year after January neck surgery. At the very least, Smith should be a significant part of the edge rushing rotation. They need Poe and McCoy to help stabilize the run defense in the middle.

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