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Mailbag: Has The Defense Done Enough To Improve?

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RYAN OREST
HUNTERSVILLE, NC
Do you think we have done enough in the offseason to turn around the defense from last year?

Rowan: I don't think it's going to turn from 32nd to first, but I think it's reasonable to at least expect it to climb a bit up the rankings. The answer you're looking for is to be determined. I know that's not what you want to here, but the entire starting defensive line could feasibly be different than the one last year, and it's largely filled with unproven players or good players coming off injuries. If the "wave of players" on the defensive line reaches its potential and gets healthy, then sure, but it's risky to assume the Cowboys are going to do so with every one of those signings. If nothing else, they didn't overpay for anyone in free agency, and they should have about six or seven solid contributors added to that rush, which is where the issues began last year.

David: Total cop-out answer: it depends on your definition of "turn around." I think they've done enough to pull them out of worst place, but I also don't think they've got enough talent to improve beyond the middle of the pack. My gut feeling is that the defense is good enough to finish somewhere in the 20s – maybe the high teens -- and the hope around Valley Ranch is that the offense will be good enough to make that slight improvement work.

KEVIN LEIBEL
ABERDEEN, SD
Why not bring Alex Tanney back since everyone was impressed with him and pondered putting him on the active roster last year to keep him from Cleveland?

Rowan:I don't think it'd be a bad idea to bring him back, except that the Cowboys like the idea of trying out Brandon Weeden, a player [embedded_ad] they valued coming out of the draft. I think that third quarterback spot is complicated by the uncertainty of Kyle Orton. If he's back and the team wants to keep Weeden, adding Tanney would't make all that much sense. If Orton's gone, which they haven't conceded, then it becomes more of a play.  

David:They did like Tanney, but I don't know if they like him more than Weeden and Caleb Hanie – both of whom have experience starting in the league. If the worry is that Tony Romo isn't going to make it through the season, then I'd rather have experience behind him – especially if Orton doesn't show up. If Orton does return, then you're looking at the possibility that the Cowboys only carry two quarterbacks again, anyway.  

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