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Mailbag: Grading La'el Collins; Team's Confidence Without Romo and Dez?


I thought we ran the ball great in this game. Darren McFadden looked like a first-round draft pick. He blocked well on top of finishing runs. How would you grade La'el Collins performance? I saw some plays where the D-Line threw him off, but I thought he did great overall. Your thoughts?

David: The fun thing about La'el Collins is that when he flashes, he really flashes. I'll let Bryan get into the more technical side of things, but it was easy to see Collins stand out on several occasions – just absolutely mauling people. I'm positive he needs to clean some things up, but it's hard not to feel optimistic about where he's projecting.

Bryan:On tape he played well. You were right about him getting thrown off at times but it really was nothing to affect the play. He did miss the run-through blitzer on their first drive which would have likely been a touchdown to Jason Witten. He did get plenty of early help from Travis Frederick but was on his more later in the game.


Tony Romo and Dez Bryant do not play defense or special teams, but in all four losses, we somehow found a way to lose. Do you believe there's a psychological effect of them not being in there?

David: There's no doubt in my mind there's a psychological effect. No one is going to admit that to you on the record, but if anyone on this team tried tell me they've had the same level of confidence this last month or so, I'd call them a liar. The Week 1 win against the Giants illustrates this point. With Tony Romo, you stand a chance to win despite committing three turnovers. Without him, it's not going to happen. The Cowboys know that, and they just have to be mentally tough enough to fight past it until Romo can return.

Bryan:Mark, I am sorry but I hate these questions – any time you ask me about the mental state of the team, I cringe because I think we are looking for answers that players are really not willing to give us unless you have that personal relationship. Players just don't like to share what they are really thinking the majority of the time. Look at it any way you like, but the bottom line is that without them in the lineup this team struggles to win, and I think that's more physical than mental.    

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