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Mailbag: Evaluating The Backup QB Position; Christine Michael's Role?

JOHN ALLGAIRROSEVILLE, CA

Do you think the coaches will reevaluate how much importance they place on experience at the backup QB position rather than coaching up a potential starter? It appears obvious they didn't learn from 2008 when they chose Brad Johnson over Matt Moore. I have to believe Kellen Moore would have won one of those seven losses.

Bryan: I agree with you about Kellen Moore – I would have given him a shot but that's why I am in the media and not scouting anymore. They were put in a tough situation when Kyle Orton decided to quit on them because he didn't like Romo. They had the backup quarterback but I also don't blame them for trying Brandon Weeden. I thought the same thing that with talent around him, he would have had better success. That's not the case.

Rob: I think they will reevaluate backup quarterback after the season, but when you're 2-7 no matter who's been missing from your lineup, you have to reevaluate a lot of things. Jason Garrett did say Monday that he feels Cassel's play has suffered in part from inexperience in the system. Of course, they installed Cassel as the starter midstream for an injured Romo because the backup they originally chose, Brandon Weeden, wasn't playing well enough in their eyes. Maybe they'd like to keep Cassel as the backup to Romo next year and believe he'll benefit from more time around the offense. Though I don't think they should rule out drafting a quarterback at some point next year, the odds of a rookie being ready to start games usually aren't very good. Look how talented Jameis Winston is as the No. 1 overall pick, and he is clearly still finding his way midway through the year.

CARL CARCHIAWALLINGFORD, CT

It seems odd to me that Darren McFadden, given his injury history, is getting these enormous workloads. What's happened to Christine Michael? There was a lot of talk about getting him more involved and it hasn't happened. Don't they need to see what he has for the future as well?

Bryan:Scott Linehan has proven to me that if he finds the right back that never comes off the field that he is going to ride that horse. Up until last week, McFadden was playing like he could carry the load. It was a tough game running the ball for both backs but they needed more. Michael has to prove he is assignment sound and can do things technique wise to play him in these games. His pass protection was fine the other day but he needs to stop dancing around and attack the line like he did in Seattle.

Rob: Michael indeed has only 15 carries in six games, including three last Sunday against the Bucs. He's a talented player, but I think the Cowboys realized part of what may have been holding McFadden back earlier in the season was a lack of rhythm with the offensive line. Neither back was effective against Tampa Bay, but the more carries McFadden has had over the last month, the better he's been. Overall he's reminded me a lot of DeMarco Murray last year as a runner. I do think they need to be mindful of his carries, but they also needed someone to spark the run game without Tony Romo in the lineup and McFadden, for the most part, has done that.

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