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Mailbag: Diggs make that much difference?


Is this how we are going to look moving forward without Trevon Diggs? This was supposed to be a shutdown defense. Does Diggs make that much of a difference in how the Cowboys play? Sterling Ticeahkie/Walters, OK

Kurt: Diggs is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL so his absence is going to be felt. However, his season-ending injury can hardly be blamed for the surprising loss in Arizona. Take away the broken coverage on one play that led to a 69-yard completion and the Cardinals passed for 120 yards. You'd take that any day. So the Dallas defense should still be strong … but it wasn't, and that's where the concerns lie. While the pass rush remains a force, obviously the team's problem of stopping the run reared its ugly head again. And as Jesse Holley said on our _Hangin' With the Boys _podcast, they've got to earn their sack party, which sure didn't happen on Sunday as an at times over-aggressive front got exposed in the ground game. With or without Diggs, they're going to be a good defense, no doubt. There's too much talent and depth. But to truly be elite, to be a shutdown defense, the Cowboys have got to finally figure out some way to consistently stop the run. How do they do that? We're all anxiously waiting to find out.

Nick Eatman: I don't think losing a cornerback - even if it's one of the best in the NFL - should justify giving up 222 rushing yards to anyone. The Cowboys know that and said the same thing after the game. This wasn't about the changes in the secondary but really the way Arizona attacked the Cowboys' defense. I've said this a few times already this week and will say it again. Putting safeties at linebacker can give you more speed on the field, but if teams decide to run right at them with their offensive linemen, it's going to create running lanes as well and we saw that on two touchdown runs. This will be a big week for Dan Quinn to figure out how to combat that with a Patriots team that comes to town after rushing for 150+ yards against the Jets, with 80 of that coming from Ezekiel Elliott. And you know Zeke will be ready to eat against the Cowboys on Sunday. This might be a tougher challenge than they had last week.

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