Mailbag

Presented by

Mailbag: Dak To Run More? Kazee vs. Hooker?

Mailbag--Dak-To-Run-More--Kazee-vs.-Hooker-hero

With the ground game hurting, and the Cowboys growing more inconsistent on third downs, whether short or long, why doesn't Dak take off for those few yards needed? — ART CUMMINGS / PORTLAND, TX

Nick: It's a fine line and he's dancing around it every time he has the chance to run. Do you play it safe and smart, or do you it do what it takes to get the first down and move the chains? We've seen Dak play both sides of it and that's probably what a good quarterback has to decide his entire career. The problem is, Dak is so much better, and the Cowboys are better, when he's playing free and loose. That's how he's become the player he is now. So there's no easy solution. Dak will continue to pick his spots and something tells me when the season goes on and these games get even more important, we'll see him run a little more.

David: The answer to that seems obvious, and it's that Dak doesn't want to risk sinking the season by hurting himself taking contact. He's talked time and time again this year about how he wants to choose his spots carefully when it comes to running. The irony is that the difference isn't as big as we might think it is. Dak averaged 17 rushing yards per game during the 2019 season, and this year's it's down to about eight. It's not exactly night and day. Having said that, 10 extra rushing yards could be the difference between extending two scoring drives or not. So at the end of the day, I do agree that I'd like to see Dak be a little more willing to use his feet. But we don't need to get carried away.

Who has played better overall at safety this season, Malik Hooker or Damontae Kazee? Kazee has clearly played more, but could we see Hooker getting more playing time down the stretch? — TYLER BAEM / SAN ANTONIO, TX

Nick: I think both of them have been overshadowed by Jayron Kearse and no one saw that coming, other than maybe Kearse and DC Dan Quinn. But to your question, it seems like Hooker is starting to get more playing time and he's becoming a little more of the every-down player. But Kazee has made more flash plays, including the pick against the Saints last week. He's had an interception against the Chargers and he's also forced a fumble in Week 1. Kazee also had that weird touchdown he helped allow against the Patriots that nearly cost them the game and of course the off-field arrest. So we've heard more from Kazee but it seems like Hooker is playing a little better and more often right now.

David: Very quietly, Hooker already seems to be getting more playing time. With Donovan Wilson sidelined, Hooker has been playing 44% of the snaps over the last month. I think a big part of that is because Jayron Kearse does so much more than just play safety, as he often functions as essentially a linebacker. I wouldn't guess we're going to see Hooker take over Kazee's job, but clearly the coaching staff is carving out a role for both guys in the secondary.

Related Content

Advertising