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Mailbag: How Different Will The Offense Be?


With Jason Garrett now the Giants' OC, do you guys expect any changes to the Cowboys' previous stated plan of keeping the offense Garrett put in place with Kellen Moore calling plays? Seems like the Giants' defense would have a leg up on the offense next year otherwise. - DEVON DAVIDSON / ST. PAUL, MN

David: It was never going to stay exactly the same. New head coach Mike McCarthy said he wants to use Moore's terminology, and he wants to build off what was in place. But he's also undoubtedly going to add some elements and structure from his own background. Garrett will have some familiarity with what the Cowboys do. There's no way around that. But it's not as if he'll have an exact copy of their playbook.

Rob: Mike McCarthy never said the offense would be exactly the same. He wants to build on what they've established already. Having Kellen Moore back as offensive coordinator presents some continuity for Dak Prescott. I think that's important for a quarterback. Think about how long Aaron Rodgers was in McCarthy's system in Green Bay – 13 of his first 14 years there. McCarthy said the Cowboys' language will stay the same. But with his experience in the West Coast system, no doubt there will be tweaks here.

I saw that Mike McCarthy plans to stick with the 4-3 on defense. But for argument's sake, if they wanted to eventually make a switch to the 3-4, do the Cowboys have the personnel to do so with their current roster? What would be the biggest challenge?JOE COOK / JACKSON, MS

David: It would take some time, but they could do it. They don't currently have enough bulk on their front. Tyrone Crawford could probably play 3-4 defensive end, but other than him I'm not sure very many guys fit that mold. They'd also need to find a true nose tackle. In my mind, I'd have DeMarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith play rush end, which means I'd need to find another inside linebacker to partner with Leighton Vander Esch. They could do it, but I think it'd take a year or two to really get it going.

Rob: The front seven, at least in the base defense, changes most when teams switch from 4-3 to 3-4. The measurables change for the defensive linemen. They typically have to be larger players in order to occupy more space and blockers. And your top pass rushers are typically stand-up linebackers. The Cowboys have guys who are probably versatile enough to play either scheme. Like, I think Jaylon Smith might be a good fit as a rush linebacker. But it doesn't sound like they want to go down that road with a full scheme change at this point. They do have a lot of free agents to be on defense, though, so the personnel could look a lot different.

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