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Mailbag: How Different Does Steele Look In 2022?

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I am curious how Terence Steele has looked so far heading into camp. Is he bigger? Stronger? How do you feel about his chances as the starter and what do you see may be his strengths over La'el Collins? Thanks! – MIKE CURTIS / IDAHO FALLS, ID

Nick: I don't notice much of a difference in his appearance or his play for that matter. Here's the thing about Steele – no one was really giving him much of a chance in Week 2 against the Chargers when he had to start. But Joey Bosa wasn't even a factor as Steele rose to the challenge and handled his business. I think that's what Steele has become – a player that isn't flashy but gets the job done. Usually, that's what a right tackle is in the first place. I think Steele is a better athlete than Collins right now but may not have the same strength. What the Cowboys will miss with Collins is an enforcer and that's something Steele could add to his game.

Kyle: He may not be much bigger than he has been over the last few years, but he certainly appears more filled out and leaner. He's the presumed starter at this point in the process and I'm interested to see if he'll take a year three jump much like he did in year two. In talking with Coach McCarthy and Coach Philbin, they're ecstatic about his work this offseason and the growth they've seen. So that plays into his strengths of work ethic, consistency, and steady growth on the field.

The overall talent for this year's receiver group is better than the group coming into 2018 after Dez was released. However, if CeeDee Lamb is just not there yet and Michael Gallup needs some time coming back from injury, I fear the early production could look similar. Will patience and game planning be the key to stay the course? – NATHAN MATTISON / GLENS FALLS, NY

Nick: Game-planning will be a huge key. There are mismatches out there and Kellen Moore and Dak have to make sure they find them. But to me, it's all about the running game. They need to figure out how to run the ball consistently. If they do that – no matter what the fronts look like – then they'll find playmakers in the passing game. James Washington, Jalen Tolbert, Dalton Schultz, maybe even Pollard, can all contribute. I think it starts with the run and if that's working as it can, then the pass-catchers will be fine. That's an optimistic viewpoint at least.

Kyle: There's always an element to how a game plan influences individual performance. So, yes, I agree with you that there's pressure to get the job done for the offensive staff as much as there is for the players. I believe Lamb and Gallup are plenty good enough to carry this offense when both are available. However, when they're not, others will have to fill that void either from the sideline or in other areas of the formation like James Washington, Jalen Tolbert, Jake Ferguson, etc.

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