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Mailbag: Faster Start For Offense Or Defense?


How long do you think it will take the Cowboys to catch up with established teams that lost the least number of players to free agency and have been working in the same system for several years with the same coaches? Teams like the Cowboys are undergoing changes with no time to prepare on the practice field right now. — JIM WHATLEY / HENDERSON, TX

David: I worry more about the defense than the offense. Most of the Cowboys' offense is the same, including the offensive coordinator. There will be some tweaks, but I trust a group full of Pro Bowlers to adjust smoothly. The defense is a different story, because it's a completely new scheme and a lot of new names. It's going to be a challenge, but there's not a lot they can do about it. Hopefully those guys are spending a lot of time with their iPads during this quarantine period.

Nick: I'm sure there is some truth to that. It's probably much easier to reiterate the systems than to install them virtually. I don't have a good answer for you there. And I don't know who would have that. Do teams struggle early because of the situation or because it wasn't very good, or a combo of both? The fact is, you can't really change it. These are the cards that have been dealt. So let's see how McCarthy and his staff chooses to play them.

I know Trevon Diggs was rated and drafted higher than Reggie Robinson II, but listening to the experts they seem to have the same type of skill set. Would you be surprised if Robinson gets more playing time or even became a starter over Diggs? — DONALD LEWIS

David: I hate to be a downer, but I'm keeping my expectations low for both of those guys in 2020. It's hard to be a Day 1 starter in the NFL, especially in the defensive backfield. Byron Jones wasn't an immediate starter. Neither was Chidobe Awuzie or Jourdan Lewis. Factor in the part where these rookies haven't had a chance to practice all spring, and I'm just not convinced they're going to beat out a multi-year veteran like Chido, Jourdan or Anthony Brown. Obviously, the idea is for both Diggs and Robinson to grow into starting roles in the future. But I don't want to heap the expectations too high, too quick.

Nick: Surprised, yes. Shocked, no. Players come from the middle rounds all the time and develop into starters. The one thing about Diggs that you have to question is what happens when he doesn't have this overpowering D-Line in front of him that's rushing the passer the same way he had at Alabama. I think he's a good player but he might've benefited from having All-Americans around him at every spot. A guy like Robinson was producing without the same supporting cast, but yet wasn't facing elite receivers all the time. So you can argue both sides. Let's just see how they perform.

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