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Mailbag: Handling Extra Preseason Game? Tackle Depth Behind McClain?

JAMES JORDANCONVERSE, TX

With the announcement of Dallas playing Arizona in the Hall of Fame Game, how do they handle having an extra preseason game that could possibly result in more injuries?  And which game would be their dress rehearsal game, the third or fourth game?

Bryan: There is always the concern of injury with that extra game but it's something you just deal with. I believe they will treat it like they have in the past under Jason Garrett – they will get a plan for playing time of the veterans such as a series, then move onto the younger players. The extra time for the veterans will likely now come in the fourth game instead of the third.

Rob: In 2013, the last time the Cowboys played the Hall of Fame Game, their 'dress rehearsal' game (in which the starters got their most playing time) was the fourth game against the Bengals. We've seen teams play their starters little in the Hall of Fame Game, similar to the first or last preseason game. We'll see, but an Aug. 3 preseason game does mean the Cowboys could be looking at a mid-July start to training camp – earlier than usual because teams typically start camp around two weeks before their first exhibition game.

REUBEN JOHNSONNASHVILLE, TN

I feel like the Cowboys should prioritize bring back Terrell McClain, but if Terrell moves on what is your comfort level with Cedric Thornton taking over as the starting one technique?

Bryan: I have to admit that I was disappointed in the way that Thornton played since coming over from the Eagles. McClain was clearly better and if in fact that he does move on – it would be a tough blow for this team. I am not so sure that Thornton can bring the quickness and sideline to sideline play we got from McClain. I hope that he is able to prove me wrong for saying that.

Rob: I thought Thornton appeared more comfortable in Rod Marinelli's scheme as the season went on before an ankle injury sidelined him for the final three games. But there's no question Terrell McClain simply earned that starting job by being more productive. I would think he's a priority to re-sign given how consistent he was in the middle of that defensive line.

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