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Mailbag: DT Depth? Frederick's Legacy?


With the additions of Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe, how do you feel about the defensive tackle position? – DONALD LEWIS

David: I feel … fine about it. McCoy and Poe are both solid players, though they likely aren't quite as good as they were five or six years ago. You'd like to think they can free up the linebackers to make more plays, but it's worth noting that the Panthers weren't very good against the run last year. The depth is also worrisome. Right now, it's just Trysten Hill. My guess is they'll add another veteran. Ultimately, I think this position is likely better than it was a year ago, but it could still use some upgrading.

Rob: I like the added size in an effort to beef up the run defense. Poe, at some 340 pounds, is a major philosophical departure from the Rod Marinelli era. When the defense struggled in games the last two seasons, they didn't stop the run consistently. The linebackers got criticized a lot last year, but sometimes they simply got taken out of the play by linemen reaching the second level. Maybe a larger front will help in that regard?

With Travis Frederick's surprise early retirement, where does his NFL legacy end up? Will he get into the Cowboys Ring of Honor? Does he have a legitimate shot at the NFL's Hall of Fame? Or will he be seen as a "what if" story? – WALTER DE BELL / TROY, NY

David: I don't like the idea of calling Travis a "what if" story. To me, that suggests that he never met his potential. He obviously did that, given that he was arguably the best center in football for several years. He also ended his career on his own terms, which carries some weight in my opinion. Unfortunately, his excellent career probably wasn't enough to get him into the Ring of Honor or the Hall of Fame, but that's nothing to knock him for.

Rob: Hard to say on either. The Ring of Honor has such exclusivity, and the Hall of Fame places a high priority on longevity. Frederick is retiring before age 30 after six seasons of play (seven years with the team). I wouldn't say he's a "what-if story," though. Without question he's among the NFL's best offensive linemen of the past decade. That's a great legacy.

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