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Mailbag: Does Nickel D Offset Loss Of Lee?


With the loss of Sean Lee, any chance the Cowboys could try to use Orlando Scandrick or Ahmad Dixon on a full time nickel defense? Not a bad idea with the amount of passing in the NFL.

Nick: I think you still need a linebacker in case teams run it. It's not always third and 13. Sometimes it's third and five and draw plays can kill you. DeVonte Holloman played safety in college, so he's got good coverage skills for a LB. I think you stick to a linebacker if it's my choice.

David:It's honestly not a bad idea, [embedded_ad] especially given Scandrick's skill as a nickel corner. But on top of what Nick already said, you probably still want to use your middle linebacker in a nickel formation – so it's not like they can completely offset the fact that Lee's not out there. But it might not be a bad idea to get your best athletes on the field, and Holloman and Bruce Carter definitely qualify in that regard.

With all of the focus on Sean Lee's injury, how is DeMarcus Lawrence fitting into the defensive rotation, and do you think he will be ready to start as an every down defensive end?

Nick: I don't think they want an "every-down" defensive linemen. DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher didn't play every down. But Lawrence is expected to contribute on third down plays. I know he had good rushes against Tyron Smith Tuesday so that's a good start.

David: Bryan Broaddus wrote an interesting breakdown of Lawrence's first day going against Tyron Smith. On Wednesday night at the Reliant Home Run Derby, Smith also talked about Lawrence's progress so far. I still doubt the Cowboys plan to use him on every down, but I think they're confident they can make him a key contributor.

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