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Mailbag: How did depth of defensive line play?


I realize it was only the first preseason game and there was no DeMarcus Lawrence or Micah Parsons, but after reading so much about the defensive line's depth and quality, shouldn't the results have shown more than only two tackles for loss and zero sacks? How do you think those guys who will make up the depth of the defensive line played?Robert Ferguson/Carrollton, TX

Nick Eatman: Not concerned at all about this. I think this is the deepest area on the whole team. When I think about Sam Williams, Dante Fowler, Neville Gallimore and Mazi Smith all being on the second-team, that's scary. That's two first-round picks, a third-rounder and a second-round pick, all backups right now. That's a ton of depth to me. I did't even mention Chauncey Golston or Junior Fehoko. I don't know how they're going to keep everyone. Yeah, you saw a quarter against Jacksonville's starters and they still played pretty well. But let's see what happens when it's 1 vs. 1 and the Cowboys get to rush Micah all day long. Bring in a fresh Sam Williams or Fowler or Armstrong, and it's going to be vastly different. I think the defense is very deep.

Patrik: This is going to sound weird, but I think the defensive line played well on Saturday. I supposed I'm looking at it through the lens of an evaluator who knows you had rookies like Mazi Smith and Isaiah Land going up against NFL starters (Jaguars played their first team) for a chunk of their first-ever NFL action; and both were still able to impact the game (as were others). Example: Smith was double- (and triple-) teamed at times, and that's one part of his value because it frees up edge rushers, and he was also seen throwing someone out of the club when finally lined up in a one-on-one matchup. Land owned the fourth quarter and drew two holding penalties and, had the third not been missed, the highlight TD play from Nathan Rourke doesn't stand. I think these are signs of the depth we're all excited to see materialize but, keep in mind, a some of these young guys never played in an NFL game before and veterans are knocking off rust. I'd say award them some grace, because we've seen what this bunch can do.

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