I know it's early to think about the 2022 draft, but when will this team invest in a top 1-3 round pick on securing a real left tackle to reinforce that position? Tyron Smith just can't be counted on anymore, and although Terence Steele is a great story, not sure he is the answer at left tackle. Smith's absence hurts all along the line. Is the team still under a heavy cap burden with him? — JEFF KLUEGER / WALNUT CREEK, CA
David: It's a fair question, but the way you phrased it is very frustrating. It's not as if the Cowboys haven't considered that course of action. They could have drafted Rashawn Slater No. 12 overall in the spring, and they'd have a Pro Bowl-caliber offensive tackle on the roster right now – and they also wouldn't have Micah Parsons. You can't have it both ways, you have to make a decision and deal with the fallout. All of that said, they can't continue to ignore Tyron's issues. They don't stand to gain anything by moving on from him, that's silly. But this spring, they should seriously consider using a big pick on a tackle to use as depth and an eventual starter.
Rob: If Tyron Smith were having similar neck issues as last year, that would be more concerning heading into 2022, in my opinion. But mainly he's just had some bad luck with this ankle injury. Although he has missed multiple games in each of the last few seasons, I still think he's the starting left tackle next year. At the same time, I agree that the Cowboys will have to take a long look at their tackle depth, and if it means a relatively high draft pick next year, then so be it. Maybe Terence Steele can continue to grow into that role. But left tackle is a much more difficult position than the right side.
Why is the offense stagnant? Is it poor calls? Poor execution? I know people have been missed (practice and games). I get that. But come on, these guys are pros and the reps they get during the week should more than prepare them for Sunday. — RICHEY JOHNSTON / FATE, TX
David: I think the boring truth is that it's a little bit of everything. This is a group that can't seem to find any rhythm. Some of that is time on task, but I also wonder if it's a crisis of confidence. This offense has a hell of a fastball, and a lot of that is built off a dominant ground game. In most of the Cowboys' impressive wins this season, they've managed to run for 120+ yards and complement their passing game off that. For a variety of reasons, they can't do it right now. To continue the pitching analogy, I don't think they have a curveball that can consistently find the zone right now. They've got a month to find one.
Rob: Yeah, it's never just one thing, as much as it feels like Pile-On-Dak-Week outside The Star. No, he hasn't played to his standard, admittedly, but there are a lot of reasons for why. I wrote about this in "3 & Out" on Tuesday, and I agree with Dave: the running game might be the X-factor for the entire offense. Chunk pass plays are what leads to most points in this league. They've got to get that rolling again. But I don't think it's a coincidence that most of Dak's best games this season have also been the offense's best run-production games (Weeks 2-6). It all runs together (bad pun intended).