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Mailbag: Difficulty Of This Year's Schedule? Trust Level In McFadden?

Seems the Cowboys get the lion's share of brutal schedules and this year's looks no better. How are you feeling about it?

Bryan: It is what it is…when I was a scout we never paid attention to who we were playing, it's where we were playing and the time of the year. Just when you try and get a handle on the schedule – injuries hit and it looks totally different. Just show up and play is my best advice.

David: Eh, I don't really care what the stats say. There's no such thing as an easy schedule in the NFL. This year's schedule looks hard, but it doesn't jump out to me as being anything extraordinary. The big thing I usually look at is, how many top-notch quarterbacks will the Cowboys have to play? This year' they'll be facing Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning and Andy Dalton. You can throw in Matt Stafford and Jameis Winston as "top-notch" quarterbacks if you want to. It's definitely not an easy task, but there's no such thing in this league.

I just don't see how McFadden is not on this roster on Week 1.  He is the only running back the coaches have any live game experience with.  I think Zeke gets the first carry of the season, but McFadden starts at the 3rd down back until Zeke settles in. Your thoughts?

Bryan: Right now, McFadden and Elliott are splitting reps. I agree with you that moving on from McFadden would be a bad idea because of his experience. Coaches are creatures of habit and will always play the players they know as opposed to the ones they don't know. I will say that there will be a point in time where Zeke takes over the majority of the snaps -- regardless of his lack of experience. There is just too much talent there.

David: You make a really good point in the fact that the coaches place a big-time premium on trust. They've seen McFadden operate in this offense, and I'm sure they like the idea of having a trustworthy veteran behind Elliott. I just keep going back to the fact that you're facing the likelihood of employing three running backs – Elliott, McFadden and Alfred Morris – who don't play much of a role on special teams. That's just not very efficient roster building. If they decide to keep all three of those backs, I'll be interested to see what decisions they make elsewhere to compensate for it.


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