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Mailbag: Giving Rod Smith An Opportunity? Creating More Takeaways?

FRED LONDON
MORRISTOWN, TN
Even with the possibility of not having Zeke, you typically will not get many touches as the third back. But I would love to see Rod Smith getting more touches, especially, in short yardage situations and late in games when holding onto a lead and trying to bleed the clock.  Your thoughts?

Bryan: Smith's physical size makes that a possibility, as we saw in the preseason. With no Elliott you're going to need a short yardage back. Morris is an option there, too, because he is better than what we've seen from McFadden in the past. He's just not tough enough. What was clearly a strength for this offense at one time could now be a crippling weakness. 

David:I have my doubts that this coaching staff is going to lean heavily on Smith when there are two veteran options above him on the depth chart. But man, I really hope he gets a shot. We have seen how tough he can be to tackle once he gets some space, and his size and physicality might make him a useful short yardage back. Hopefully the coaches don't forget what he showed them during the preseason.

TONY SMALLS
CHINO VALLEY, AZ
I understand Rod Marinelli's defensive scheme, but after watching over the years, I'm feeling as if instead of being able to make plays, the scheme forces players to stay within their assignments more so than using their talents and football intuition to make plays on the ball. Do you feel they have the personnel to actually turn this into the true turnover-causing the defense that its supposed to be?

Bryan: No one in the league works harder in creating turnovers than this bunch. In training camp I would have swore that they would have created more. The first two games of the season made me look smart but since then -- zip. They've had some chances with balls on the ground and tipped passes but just haven't been able to cash in. It's not all scheme but on the players, as well. If you're not talented enough those takeaways just aren't going to transpire. 

David:My main argument would be to look back to 2014, when the Cowboys had 31 takeaways in this scheme -- good enough for second-best in the NFL. So we know it can be done. It's just a matter of grabbing those opportunities. I have felt for a while that this Dallas defense is far too reactionary, rather than proactive. Hopefully that will change as these young players get more experience.

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