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Mailbag: Early OTAs Standouts? Pro Bowl Idea?


I know it's super early and you guys have only seen one practice, but who or what stood out to you most about the first OTA? — MIKE S / DALLAS, TX

Rob: It wasn't just Markquese Bell's interception on Cooper Rush at the end of Wednesday's practice. It's what head coach Mike McCarthy said about Bell after practice: "He's been impressive. He jumped out at the rookie camp. … I think you've seen what we've done with JK (Jayron Kearse) and the ability for safeties to play nickel and dime. He definitely has that ability." Sounds like defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has a clear vision for Bell. You don't hear that often this early about an undrafted player. I think it speaks to the depth of this year's draft as well as Bell's talent.

David: I like Rob's answer, but in the interest of covering some ground I'll say Matt Waletzko. Obviously, we need to note that Tyron Smith missed practice, but it's awfully interesting that the Cowboys threw their fifth-round pick into the fire as their first-team left tackle on a lot of their team reps. He wasn't perfect. It looked like Micah Parsons beat him pretty good on a couple occasions. But this is invaluable experience for a rookie to get in his first NFL practices.

What I suggest for the Pro Bowl is going back to the format the league had between the two Super Bowl teams after the Super Bowl like they did in the late 70s: A team competition, like in the Olympics. Thoughts? — WALTER DE BELL / TROY, NY

Rob: Works for me. The league seems to be recognizing that the Pro Bowl game as presently constructed just isn't sustainable. Players don't want to get hurt, and by the way, I don't blame them one bit, especially with an extra game on the regular-season schedule. The events during Pro Bowl week are actually pretty fun, and maybe that's the best way to highlight the event while still giving the players a deserved vacation.

David: I'd love it. How about a relay for all the speedy guys, and a tug-of-war competition for all the big dudes? Maybe throw in an obstacle course. Have an accuracy and distance competition for the quarterbacks. And you could offer cash incentives to make it worth the risk from an injury standpoint. At this rate, anything sounds better than the awful "football" game they're trotting out there right now.

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