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Mailbag: Grading Randy Gregory's Return; Defense Hitting Its Stride?

JAMES MITCHELLINDIANAPOLIS, IN

I know it's been discussed at length all season that the Cowboys defense doesn't scare many teams. But, it seems like they have been really hitting a good stride right in time for the playoffs even with all the injuries. Timely sacks, big plays by the secondary, and Sean Lee cleaning up just about everything else has me feeling pretty good about a playoff run. What's your take on the Cowboys' defense right now?

Rob: Everybody looks at sack and takeaway totals, and by no means are they atop the league, even though they're forcing more turnovers. The biggest thing you have to look at is points allowed: 18.6 points per game. Would you have taken that back in training camp? Absolutely. Most of the time all season long they've gotten stops when they've needed to. The effort has been outstanding and the results have been very solid.

Bryan: Been good all year. They've overcome doubt about creating pressure. They've forced teams to take field goals instead of touchdowns. They've tackled well as a unit. Sure they give up yards but when they've have to make stops - it happens. Haven't got the credit they really deserve.

STERLING TICEAHKIEWALTERS

How would you grade Randy Gregory's return? Is that going to be a lingering injury or just something he needs to play through?

Rob: Gregory played hard and he played more snaps than maybe I expected despite straining his oblique in the first half. And the defense needed him with two more linemen (Ryan Davis and Terrell McClain) getting banged up in the game. It's a credit to Gregory's conditioning work while he was unable to practice during his suspension.

Bryan: I thought for his first time out it was a quality performance for him. He gives them something they don't have and that's a true edge rusher. We need to see how severe the injury is this week and will it hold him out of practice because they sure could use him this week against the Eagles.

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