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Mailbag: Has Patmon Earned More Playing Time?; Marinelli's Future?


Does Tyler Patmon deserve more play time? Even in the preseason Patmon had a knack for the ball. Isn't it time to try something new in our secondary that tends to get burned?

Nick: Tends to get burned? I wouldn't say that. I don't think this secondary has struggled that much. The lack of pass rush and sacks seems to be a bigger problem. I'm not saying there isn't need for an improvement, but overall, the secondary has been solid. That doesn't mean Patmon can't get more time. He's done a nice job so far. I think what you're seeing is him replacing a linebacker. That means the Cowboys might use more dime defense than nickel. That's the defense that resulted in his interception return. But when it comes to nickel, maybe we'll see him play more in place of Sterling Moore.

David: This definitely isn't the best secondary in the NFL, but I'm with Nick in that I don't think it's that high on the list of problem spots for this defense. Brandon Carr has struggled the past two weeks, but we still haven't seen the absurd types of passing games we saw the Cowboys give up last season. So I don't think I'd be looking to move Patmon to the outside, but I'd  be fine with him getting some more looks in nickel or dime. I think we might see some of that against Jacksonville, especially with Rolando McClain likely to miss the game. I would expect Kyle Wilber to get pulled off in favor of a speedier defensive back when the situation calls for it.

Have the Cowboys discussed extending Rod Marinelli? Has he expressed interest in returning? If he doesn't, who on the staff would replace him or who could they look to bring in?

Nick: If they have discussed it, it's been internally. It's kind of a tricky situation considering Jason Garrett isn't under contract either. I don't think Jerry Jones would extend Marinelli or any other assistant with an expiring contract and not do the same for Garrett. Then again, he did sign up Garrett before Wade Phillips back in 2007. I think it's different now. But if he does leave, it'll probably be for Tampa Bay to reunite with Lovie Smith. If that happens, I wouldn't have a problem with Matt Eberflus taking over.

David: That's not the type of question you're going to get Marinelli, Garrett or Jerry Jones to answer -- on the record, at least. Like Nick mentioned, it's really easy to imagine Marinelli leaving to go coach with his old friend Lovie Smith if his contract isn't picked up here. That said, this could potentially be a very solid situation for him next year. There are a lot of things up in the air, but he could possibly be working with Rolando McClain, Sean Lee, DeMarcus Lawrence, Orlando Scandrick, Barry Church and perhaps Henry Melton as his core defenders in 2015. Factor in a potential first or second-round draft pick on defense, and you could be looking at a good building block for the future. So maybe that encourages him to hang around. If he doesn't I would guess the Cowboys will either promote Matt Eberflus or hire from outside the organization.


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